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How to Plant a Garden After Starting Seeds Indoors

After starting seeds indoors and hardening off seedlings, it’s time to get them in the ground. Whether you started flowers or vegetables indoors, learn how to plant a garden in 5 easy steps.

If you’ve been following along my seed starting journey, I’ve spent the last few weeks hardening off seedlings to prepare them for life in the garden.

Since the beginning, I’ve started over 1000 seedlings with great success.

In addition to hardening off plants, I’ve spent a lot of time preparing my garden to get them ready for my seed starts.

Did you start seeds indoors too?

If so, then you are ready to plant seedlings in the garden.

And if you are just planting annuals or other plants you picked up from the nursery, this process applies to them too.

Here’s how to do it.

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Sweet pea seedlings that are ready to be planted in the cut flower garden in the backyard -How to Plant a Garden After Starting Seeds Indoors

How to Plant a Garden After Starting Seeds Indoors

You started your seeds and hardened them off, now what?

It’s time to plant them!

Supplies Needed

  • Seedlings
  • Garden Trowel
  • Garden Gloves
  • Kneeling Pad
  • Garden Soil
  • Compost
New cut flower garden in front of Garden Shed after the Makeover with stone pathway and wood picket fence before planting seedlings
The shed garden will house several of my new seed starts in a quaint cottage garden. To see the makeover, click here.

Step 1 – Prepare the Garden

If you already have a garden that’s ready to go, move on to Step 2.

If you do not have a garden, there are two ways to start a garden.

You can start a new garden this way.

Or you can start a garden the easy way depending on what you are growing.

Since I’ve been gardening my property for well over 20 years, my soil here is really good.

I’ve been amending it with good quality garden soil, compost, leaf mold, and mulch that breaks down.

If you are working with rocky, sandy, or clay soil, you need to spend time preparing your bed with good quality garden soil and other amendments.

Because plant health and success starts with good, healthy soil.

For soil tips, click here.

getting ready to plant sweet peas after hardening off plants with a hand trowel - How to Plant a Garden After Starting Seeds Indoors

Step 2 – Site Plants and Dig Hole

Design and site before starting.

I spend a lot of time doing this part because I love to play around with different plant combinations looking at foliage and blooms.

Since seedlings are relatively small, it’s best to use a garden trowel like this one.

If your soil is light and pliable, you may be able to move the soil with your hands and plant.

How to Plant a Garden with seedlings - planting seedlings in the new cut flower garden outside the garden shed with wood picket fence and stone path
In the new shed garden, the soil is amazing! We raked out what’s been used in the raised beds and added some compost and leaf mold to further enrich the soil. When planting it, I used my hands to dig and plant in the soil.

This is one of the reasons I love to wear garden gloves while I work.

When I am working, I wear garden gloves to keep my hands clean and prevent them from getting blisters if I’m digging a lot.

I also always use a kneeling pad.

Kneeling pads are priceless when doing a lot of plantings because they keep your knees clean and prevent them from getting sore.

Digging a hole to plant the seedlings -How to Plant a Garden After Starting Seeds Indoors

Step 3 – Amend the Hole

After digging the hole, amend the bottom of the hole with a mixture of garden soil and compost.

If you’ve already amended your soil when preparing the garden for planting, skip this step.

Placing seedlings in the hole -How to Plant a Garden After Starting Seeds Indoors

Step 4 – Gently Remove Seedlings from Cells and Pots

If you started seeds in cell trays or plastic pots, it’s important to gently remove them so you disturb the roots as little as possible.

Sometimes root growth is so strong and healthy, they begin to grow through the bottom of the pot.

Loosen them up and gently squeeze the plant out of the cell or pot.

Cosmos seedlings that are getting planted today -How to Plant a Garden After Starting Seeds Indoors

Sometimes I use a small knife to help lift it out.

This is one of the reasons I love the biodegradable pots.

Because seedlings can be planted directly in the ground without disturbing any roots.

Sweet pea seedlings after planting -How to Plant a Garden After Starting Seeds Indoors

Step 5 – Planting Seedlings

It’s best to plant seedlings on a cloudy day.

And if light rain is predicted, even better.

Luckily in NJ, we get a lot of those in early spring around our last frost date before the weather gets too hot and sunny.

After removing seedlings from their container, gently place them in the ground and backfill the hole.

I like to mound up the soil a little to offer additional support while they get used to their new surroundings.

Water well if rain is not predicted.

overlooking Before and After Garden Shed Makeover where new cut flower garden is inside wood picket fence in backyard with an arbor

My Seed Starting Journey

Have you been following along?

I started over 1000 seeds indoors without a greenhouse.

The journey began several weeks ago and I’ve been sharing the progress along the way.

Backyard garden with garden shed, trellis, arbor and wood picket fence for cut flower gardenHow to Plant a Garden After Starting Seeds Indoors
This gorgeous trellis is by H Potter. I am growing my sweet peas and nasturtiums up it. We added temporary fencing to keep the rabbits away while they establish and grow.

In case you missed anything or want to learn how to start seeds indoors without a greenhouse:

Want More Garden Tips and Tricks?

My good friend Kim from Shiplap and Shells has some great tips about how to cut back spring bulbs.

Tulips and Spring Bulbs by Shiplap and Shells
Photo by Shiplap and Shells

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Close up of planting seedlings -How to Plant a Garden After Starting Seeds Indoors
Close up of planting seedlings outside in garden -How to Plant a Garden After Starting Seeds Indoors

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10 Comments

  1. Stacy,
    Great post. You plants look much healthier than mine! All that I planted looked great until just before it was time to start planting! I hope the ones that survived will do ok. Your garden is going to be beautiful

    1. Thank you! I hope they do as well! Did you start hardening them off? I noticed my sweet peas weren’t thrilled towards the end of their indoor life – I had to get them outside. I’m not sure how they’ll do yet. They seem ok in the ground but haven’t grown much.

  2. Thank you for all the great tips. So excited to see your garden grow and get some more things growing in mine.

  3. I am so excited to see your flower garden once everything grows in and starts blooming Stacy. You have worked so hard to get to this point. The seedlings look amazing!

    1. You and me both!!! I am hoping they all take and bloom! I’m stuffing these in all over the place hahaha