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Planting Seedlings / Plant Starts

Learn how to properly plant your seedlings/plant starts so you can have a healthy, food producing garden all summer long!
Keyword: Plants, Seedlings
Author: Erin Harper and Joan Jach


  • 1 Pot
  • Potting Soil
  • 1 Seedling
  • 1 Coffee Filter
  • Water


  • Pour soil into a large, clean container (e.g. bucket, large cooking pot); moisten with water until the soil just holds together when squeezed into a ball. Not too much water, it shouldn’t drip water when squeezed.
  • Place coffee filter in the bottom of the pot. The filter prevents the soil from flowing out of the drainage hole. Fill the pot about two-thirds (2/3) full of potting soil. Gently press on soil to eliminate air pockets.
  • Take the seedling out of its small pot: tilt the plant to the side and gently rock/squeeze the seedling’s pot to release the plant. Put the seedling in the pot to see if the level of the soil is correct. The top of the seedling root ball should be about 1-2 inches below the top of the pot edge. If too low, add more soil. If too high, scoop some soil out.
  • If seedling is root bound (many roots that take the shape of the small pot it came in), gently separate/break up roots on outer 1/2 inch of root ball before planting.
  • Place seedling in center of pot. Hold with stem centered and straight, fill in around the root ball with soil. Cover top of root ball with soil and make sure no roots are exposed.
  • Gently press soil around root ball to eliminate air pockets. Water gently from a pitcher or a watering can until soil around seedling is thoroughly soaked.
  • Place your newly potted seedling out of direct sunlight for about a week. Use your finger to test for soil moisture by poking down about 2 inches into the soil. If the soil feels dry and doesn't stick to your finger, your plant needs to be watered. You may need more or less water depending on weather conditions. Happy growing!