Purchasing bedding plants is a great way to get a head start on your garden each spring. You can transplant bedding plants into the ground after danger of frost has passed and have colorful flowers right away, or harvest vegetables weeks earlier than if you'd planted seeds. Nurseries, hardware stores and even grocery stores stock six-packs and flats of bedding plants each spring. For a few dollars, you can fill your garden with color.
Allow the plants to harden off. Bedding plants accustomed to conditions in greenhouses and stores need time to acclimate to the harsher conditions out of doors. When you bring the plants home from the store, set them in a cool, shady location. Water thoroughly and check every day to make sure they don't dry out. Over the next week, gradually move the plants to partial shade, then full sun. Bring the plants in at night if there's a danger of frost. After a week of hardening off you can transplant your plants to the garden.
Dig a hole for the plant with the trowel. The hole should be a little wider and the same depth as the transplant pot. Add a little slow-release fertilizer at the bottom of the hole.
Remove plant from plastic of paper pack. If the pack is temporary, simply tear away the old paper or plastic from around the plant. If the transplant pot is meant to be reused, insert one finger in the hole in the bottom of the pot and push up firmly to loosen the plant.
Separate the roots of the plant if they have knotted together beneath the plant. Use your fingers to gently pry knotted or twisted roots apart.
Set the plant in the hole. Fill in with soil from the hole and pat to firm. Don't worry about packing it in too tightly.
Water the plant to settle the soil around the roots. Fill in with more soil to level the ground around the plant.
Mulch around the plants to help keep them moist.