_Transplanting young seedlings._

In the transplanting of cabbages, tomatoes, flowers, and all plants recently started from seeds, it is important that the ground be thoroughly fined and compacted. Plants usually live better if transplanted into ground that has been freshly turned. If possible, transplant in cloudy or rainy weather, particularly if late in the season. Firm the earth snugly about the roots with the hands or feet, in order to bring up the soil moisture; but it is generally best to rake the surface in order to restablish the earth-mulch, unless the plants are so small that their roots cannot reach through the mulch (p. 98).

If the plants are taken from pots, water the pots some time in advance, and the ball of earth will fall out when the pot is inverted and tapped lightly. In taking up plants from the ground, it is advisable, also, to water them well some time before removing; the earth may then be held on the roots. See that the watering is done far enough in advance to allow the water to settle away and distribute itself; the earth should not be muddy when the plants are removed.

[Illustration: Fig. 128. Plants sheared and not sheared when transplanted.]

In order to reduce the evaporation from the plant, shingles may be stuck into the ground to shade the plant; or a screen may be improvised with pieces of paper (Fig. 122), tin cans, inverted flower-pots, coverings of brush, or other means.

It is nearly always advisable to remove some of the foliage, particularly if the plant has several leaves and if it has not been grown in a pot, and also if the transplanting is done in warm weather. Figure 128 shows a good treatment for transplanted plants. With the foliage all left on, the plants are likely to behave as in the upper row; but with most of it cut off, as in the lower row, there is little wilting, and new leaves soon start. Figure 129 also shows what part of the leaves may be cut off on transplanting. If the ground is freshly turned and the transplanting is well done, it rarely will be necessary to water the plants; but if watering is necessary, it should be done at nightfall, and the surface should be loosened the next morning or as soon as it becomes dry.

In the transplanting of young plants, some kind of a dibber should be used to make the holes. Dibbers make holes without removing any of the earth. A good form of dibber is shown in Fig. 130, which is like a flat or plane trowel. Many persons prefer a cylindrical and conical dibber, like that shown in Fig. 131. For hard soils and larger plants, a strong dibber may be made from a limb that has a right-angled branch to serve as a handle. This handle may be softened by slipping a piece of rubber hose on it (Fig. 132). A long iron dibber, which may also be used as a crow-bar, is shown in Fig. 133. In transplanting with the dibber, a hole is first made by a thrust of the tool, and the earth is then pressed against the root by means of the foot, hand, or the dibber itself (as in Fig. 131). The hole is not filled by putting in dirt at the top.

For large plants, a broader dibber may be used. An implement like that shown in Fig. 134 is useful for setting strawberries and other plants with large roots. It is made of two-inch plank, with a block on top to act as foot-rest and to prevent the blade from going too deep. In order to provide space for the foot and easily to direct the thrust, the handle may be placed at one side of the middle. For plunging pots, a dibber like that shown in Fig. 135 is useful, particularly when the soil is so hard that a long-pointed tool is necessary. The bottom of the hole may be filled with earth before the pot is inserted; but it is often advisable to leave the vacant space below (as in _b_) to provide drainage, to keep the plant from rooting, and to prevent earth-worms from entering the hole in the bottom of the pot. For smaller pots, the tool may be inserted a less depth (as at _c_).