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Prepare your vegetable patch: When the seedlings have grown 5 to 6 leaves, they can be transplanted to the vegetable patch. The seedlings, to grow to this stage may take sometime between 30 to 45 days. So be patient.
Prepare the vegetable patch 2 – 3 days in advance before transplanting the seedlings.
Mark the area where you are planning to transplant. It can be a very small patch – no problem. Remove all vegetation. Till the soil using a spade or any tool that would achieve the same results. Remove stones and break lumps of soil.
Spread well composted manure over the soil and mix well.
Harvest the seedlings: You can see here that tomato and chili seedlings in the basket are well grown and ready to be transplanted.
Water the seedling basket and make the soil moist. Then pull out the well-grown seedlings one by one from the basket. The seedlings are very tender so be gentle when pulling them out. If you feel it’s a bit hard to pull out the seedlings, water more and wait for some time.
Pull out as many seedlings as your vegetable patch can accommodate. The rest can stay in the basket for transplanting latter or you can give them away to neighbours and friends as gifts.
Transplant the seedlings: You can transplant the seedlings 1 foot apart from each other starting from one end. So, if you have prepared a patch of about 4 ft x 4 ft, you can transplant about 20 seedlings in that patch. Fruits from 20 plants are more than sufficient for a small family.
Using a tapered piece of stick make holes of about 2 inches deep, one foott apart from each other starting from one end.
Place a seedling in the hole and cover with soil. Lightly press the soil around the seedlings with your fingers.
Water the transplanted seedlings generously.
You can see in the pictures above that I have transplanted the seedlings in so many small patches wherever there is available space.
Let the transplanted seedlings take root: This is the next day after transplanting the seedlings. The plants look limp and wilted. Don’t mind that and just water them just well enough to keep the soil moist.
If the climate is very hot, you can put some sort of shade over the seedlings. In a day or two the transplanted seedlings will take root and come to life.
Maintain your vegetable patch: By the time your transplanted seedlings have started growing well, expect weeds to also grow and compete with them. You can pull out most of the weeds by hand. Otherwise use a small spade or a trowel to work around the plants and remove the weeds.
You can deposit the uprooted weeds in the vegetable patch itself. They will decompose in time. They will also work as mulch and prevent water evaporation from the vegetable patch.
Make small mounds of soil around the base of the plants as shown in the picture.
Provide vertical support to plants: Some plants like tomatoes need support to stay erect. Otherwise they spread along the ground which may cause for leaves and young fruits to rot. ting of leaves and young fruits.
I have provided support to each and every tomato plant with a coconut leaf stem, which are readily available in our place. You can also use other materials for support like PVC or plastic pipes.
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