I’ve always loved outdoor gardening, so I was surprised to see how quickly I fell in love with the ease and convenience of an indoor Aerogarden. One of the great benefits of an Aerogrow garden is that it allows you to start healthy seedlings inside and then move them to an outdoor garden when the weather is right. Here’s how to safely transplant your indoor Aerogarden seedlings to an outdoor garden.
Choose the Right Weather
Aerogarden seedlings have been protected inside from the harsh elements outside, which can lead to transfer shock if they’re transplanted too early in a growing season. Wait until there’s no risk of frost and move your plants outside then. Similarly, it’s generally a bad idea to transfer plants in the hottest months of summer. Choose a warm and balmy time of year to transfer your plants outside.
Hardening plants is the process of taking them outside for a little while each day till they adjust to the outside weather. Consider planting your plants in a pot and then keeping the pot inside for the first week or so, gradually taking the plants outside for more hours each day.
Choose the Right Soil
The root structure of Aerogarden plants is slightly different from plants that have been grown outdoors from the beginning, so you’ll need to treat your established Aerogarden plants like fresh seedlings when you first transfer them. Put the plants in pots with vermiculite or peat soil to help them establish a root structure that’s more conducive to outdoor living. After your plants have become established in the peat or vermiculite, you can then move them to a more traditional soil. Make sure you use a nutrient rich soil. Ideally, consider planting the plants in soil with a high proportion of compost. Aerogarden plants are accustomed to getting ample nutrients, so if this does not continue in the first weeks, they may die.
You’ll need to water your outdoor Aerogarden plants a bit more than you would water normal plants. Aerogarden plants aren’t accustomed to getting water from soil, so until the root system has been sufficiently established in an outdoor garden, make sure your plants never dry out.
Support the Stems
The stems of Aerogarden plants tend to be weaker than plants that have grown outside. Indoor plants haven’t had to contend with wind and rain and therefore haven’t had to build tough, weather-resistant stems. If your plants are tall, you’ll need to gently support the stems until they get acclimated to the outdoor weather. Tomatoes and peppers are particularly susceptible to the elements when first being transferred. Try using a twist tie to affix the stems to a stake or stick that will keep them firmly in place. Don’t tie them too tightly and be careful not to damage any of the leaves when staking Aerogarden plants, or you may kill them.
Protect the Roots
When transferring store bought plants, it’s typically a good idea to break up the root ball to help the plants establish themselves. Don’t do this with Aerogarden plants! The roots need time to adjust to outdoor living. Instead, consider planting your plants still in the plastic basket. If you want to remove the plastic basket, be careful about harming the roots, and do not remove the sponge or your plants will almost certainly die.