You'll need to start by "hardening off" your plants, i.e. gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions over the course of a few days so that they can adjust to the strength of the daytime sun and cool temperatures at night. Once you've hardened them off, water them thoroughly on the day they're going to go into the garden. Starting at one end of the row, begin digging holes and setting plants in place. Make each planting hole about the same depth as but slightly wider than the transplant's soil ball, and firm the soil gently around each plant when you set it in the ground. Leave a shallow depression around each transplant, so water can collect. If the soil is at all dry or the weather is sunny (transplanting on a cloudy or rainy cool day is best), water each plant as you go. Especially if the weather is sunny, provide shade to protect transplants until they've adjusted. Upturned bushel baskets, pieces of lattice propped along the row, or burlap draped over supports are all easy ways to provide a bit of shade. If you haven't been watering each plant as it went into the ground, be sure to water the entire row thoroughly once you're finished. It's also a good idea to install a cutworm collar around each seedling as you plant. Reprinted from The Veggie Gardener's Answer Book Copyright 2008 by Barbara W. Ellis, with permission from Storey Publishing. Image credit: Roger Doiron
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