The weather has been very cold but when the calendar says plant we have to get at it or all of a sudden we are way behind. We are covering everything with Re-may as we transplant to keep it from freezing. These rows of broccoli will not only keep warmer under the cloth but the Re-may will do double-duty as it will help to protect the starts from the white butterfly moth. The butterfly moth prefers these brassica plants for laying its eggs.
The first thing we do is separate the starts from the cell packs and set them gently in a bucket for easy transplanting. If you have help you can work with another person and they can separate the starts for you. This works better when the starts are smaller and thus will come out of the cells better. You want the cells to be somewhat root bound and not too wet so they don’t fall apart. Also, no bigger than about 6 inches tall so that they don’t catch on the trans-planter as you lift the mechanism off of them.
Ken has a handy-dandy wire hook that he made to hang on his belt so that he can easily hang the bucket on and off as he fills it with starts. He stabs the planter into the ground where he wants to plant the Start. This slices a hole in the plastic mulch. He then reaches into the bucket to get a start and drops it into the planter. It falls down the tube and rests above the mechanism. With a rocking motion forward it releases it into the ground and he taps it in firmly with the toe of his boot.
Ta da it is all planted and heading down the row he measures for the next plant. To get a correct and easy measurement we have attached a stiff tubing (mainline hose) on the bottom of the planter that is adjusted to a 2 foot length for brassicas.
It is amazingly fast and look, the whole row is transplanted. It actually takes more time to fill your bucket with each of the little starts than it does to do the actual planting with this ‘back-saving’, handy tool.