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Growing Tips: Transplanting

Growing Tips: Transplanting

We're writing today about how to transplant your Oishii Nippon varieties, and why you might want to transplant your varieties rather than direct sowing them in the field. 

The weather has finally started to warm (in some parts of the country). The ground has thawed and dried out enough for growers to get into the field and start preparing the beds for seeds and transplants. Why wouldn't growers just direct seed all of their seeds?

Some varieties are perfectly happy being direct seeded (from ONP: Sweet Kabu turnip, Zuccuri squash, Tatsu Komatsuna, Ohba Shiso, Natsu cucumber). In some cases, growers may choose to transplant varieties if they want a little more control over moisture or heat early in the season. It is also helpful to know exactly how many plants you will have in the field — sometimes when direct sowing, with field variations or germination issues, you could end up with blank sections of a row. This will of course impact the productivity of a field.

Other varieties like Shishimai Pepper or Fioretto and Murasaki Fioretto cauliflower perform best when transplanted. Peppers require generous and consistent heat to germinate well, and cauliflower can be sensitive to changes in temperature or moisture. 

So let's say you've calculated when to start your seeds based on your growing zone, and you've started your seeds indoors. Now, you have transplants that look ready to go outside.

How do you know they're ready? Usually you want to see 3-4 true leaves before transplanting. Then, by gently pulling on the base of the stem, you can see if the roots are developed enough that the soil comes out in one clump along with the plant. 

What's next? First, you want your seedlings to be hardened off. This means that they have been adjusted to the light and temperature outside. 

Hardening Off

To do this the easy way, place your seedlings outside in a spot protected from sun and wind during the day, and bring them back inside at night. Over the course of one or two weeks, increase the amount of sunlight they receive every day. Avoid putting them outside when it's very windy, heavy rain, or temperatures are below 45˚F. 


Once hardened off, they are ready to be transplanted. Check the growing requirements for the spacing they should have between plants. For a quick reference of the ONP varieties that can or should be transplanted, see the below table. 

 Variety Transplanting Recommendation Spacing Between Plants Spacing Between Rows
Fioretto Cauliflower Always transplant 12-18" 18-24"
Murasaki Fioretto Always transplant 12-18" 18-24"
Natsu Cucumber Can be transplanted 12" 18"
Negi Always transplant 2" 36"-48"
Saku Saku Cabbage Always transplant 12" 18"
Shishimai Pepper Always transplant 12-18" 18-24"
Zuccuri Kabocha Can be transplanted 18" 40"



To transplant, dig a small hole* for the seedling (size will vary depending on your cell size) and place the seedling in the hole. Make sure the roots are covered with soil and none of the germination soil mix is showing (it can dry out more quickly). 

*For Negi, dig a trench about 6" deep in the row and plant seedlings 2" apart in the trench rather than digging holes. Cover the plants so only the top 1-2" of the greens is showing. 

Water in the plants generously, going over them 2-3 times. It can be helpful to the plants to add some high-phosphorus fertilizer at this stage (for example, a 10-50-10 or 2-4-1) to promote root growth and help the plants get established. 

If they turn a little yellow after transplanting, don't worry! This is called "transplant shock". They should turn around after a couple of weeks of adjusting to their new environment. 

That's all there is to it! For more growing tips, learn more on the blog

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