When pricking out seedlings from the seed-bed use a suitable dibble, which can vary in size from the thickness of a meat skewer to finch in diameter.

To prick out and transplant seedlings use a dibble that suits the size of the roots, and handle the plants carefully when removing them. With the dibble make a hole in the soil of sufficient depth and width to take the seedlings without cramping their roots.Insert the seedlings into the hole and firmly press the soil round them with the fingers, keeping the crown above soil level. When seedlings have long stems, for example Zinnias, plant them a little deeper, otherwise they will fall over and, if left like this, will develop permanently bent stems.

In the first pricking-out, the seedlings can be put into boxes, thus leaving more room for the less advanced plants, or they can be put into their selected garden positions, after being "hardened off". (It is essential to watch for snails and slugs and apply a suitable bait to destroy them.)

If planted in fresh boxes or direct into the garden, some necessary protection can be given to the plants for the first day or so by placing a damp sack or some hessian over them. If the seedlings tend to wilt it is a sure sign they require water, but if the soil is kept moist they soon recover. As they become established apply a mulch of grass clippings, straw, or well-rotted manure to the soil surface.

Weather conditions at the
time of transplanting are important in successful establishment of plants, and transplanting should not be done in the middle of the day or in hot spells. The best time for transplanting is late afternoon. Before starting, make certain that the seed-bed is moist, not only on the surface, but a few inches down. Liberal watering of the bed is most important and should be done the day before planting.

Do not remove more seedlings from the seed-bed than can be planted in about an hour and, once they are removed, protect them from direct sunlight, for this can easily damage their delicate roots.

When transplanting is completed keep the soil round the young plant sufficiently moist so that maximum growth is possible. Control of soil moisture is very important. If too much water is added the roots of the seedlings will be too small and the minute root hairs will fail to perform efficiently. On the other hand, a shortage of moisture will restrict the normal function of the leaves. Excess water from a main's supply will reduce the temperature of the soil round the young plants, since the temperature of water from this source may not exceed 60F. even on hot sunny days. Covering the plants in their new home with sheets of hessian keeps them cool and the soil round them reasonably moist. This is important when valuable plants are grown.