How to Plant Vegetable Plants

Overview

Planting vegetable plants allows gardeners to put healthy, mature plants into the ground. Novice gardeners who don't want to grow from seed or experienced gardeners who don't have the time to start plants from seed can purchase vegetable transplants. Plant each vegetable according to its time: warm season veggies like corn and tomatoes need to be planted after the last frost date, while cool season crops like lettuce and beets can be planted earlier in the spring.

Step 1

Prepare the soil in your garden bed for planting by turning it over with a shovel. Remove weeds, rocks and sticks from the garden bed. The soil should be loose with no clumps.

Step 2

Spread a 2-inch thick layer of compost or manure across the soil in your garden bed. Turn the manure or compost into the soil with a shovel. This boosts the nutrient content of your soil organically.

Step 3

Test the pH in your garden bed with a home pH test kit. Most kits require you to take a soil sample and moisten it, then touch a pH color change strip to the soil. Check the color against the corresponding chart to determine the pH value of the soil.

Step 4

Amend your soil pH by adding sulfur to lower it or lime to raise it. Each vegetable has a preferred pH range; most prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5 and 7. Check the preferred pH range of your vegetable plants at The Garden Helper, then amend your soil with sulfur or lime, using The Garden Helper's correction ratio for your type of soil (see the Resources below).

Step 5

Smooth out the soil in your garden bed so it's an even layer. Then dig holes for your vegetable plants that are twice the size of the plant's root balls. Follow the spacing recommendations for each type of vegetable, which are listed on the plant tag when you purchase vegetable transplants.

Step 6

Remove each vegetable plant from its container. Massage the root ball between your hands to break it apart. Place each plant in a prepared hole.

Step 7

Hold the plant vertically straight and cover over its roots with soil until the plant is firmly in the ground. Plant all vegetable transplants in this manner.

Step 8

Water your newly planted vegetables until the soil becomes saturated with water.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • pH test kit
  • Sulfur (optional)
  • Lime (optional)
  • Vegetable transplants
  • Water

References

  • The Garden Helper: Vegetables

Who Can Help

  • The Garden Helper: Recommended Soil pH for Growing Vegetables
  • The Garden Helper: Acid Soil
Keywords: vegetable gardening, vegetable transplants, vegetable planting instructions

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.