It may be hot, but there’s still time to start transplanting those seedlings you started a few weeks ago into the outdoor garden. Melons and squash are usually started from seeds directly in the earth. If for some reason you have started them early indoors (perhaps to get an early harvest or because of a short growing season in some locations), there are some important guidelines to follow to make sure that the plants survive and you end up with a bountiful harvest.
I’is because melons and squash have such delicate roots that it is ill-advised to transplant them. If you have to, it is best to transplant these when they are about two weeks old. It is better to transplant sooner rather than later. Plants with leaves should be moved from indoors to the garden as soon as possible.
Some gardeners recommend starting seeds indoors in peat pots so that transplanting is easier and does not disturb the root system. Peat pots are biodegradable and can be planted directly into the soil without removing the dirt or plant from the pot. Others say that peat pots are a waste of time and do not work as advertised. Obviously, this turns into a personal preference and finding what works best for you and the plants that you are growing. If you are unsure, experiment by planting half your seeds in peat pots and half into pots that will require the plants to be removed and see which plants survive better.
When transplanting melons and squash, know that they prefer hot and sunny locations. They require a fertile, well drained soil. Always wait until the danger of frost has passed before transplanting any seedlings outside. If there is a surprise frost, care should be taken to protect the plants. To protect outdoor plants from frost, they need to be covered with a type of material to hold in the heat from the earth like canvas or nylon. It is also helpful to have a layer of mulch around the plants to help the soil maintain a warmer temperature.
Most gardeners will agree that melon and squash seeds sown directly into an outdoor garden will fare better than those planted indoors and transplanted. But if the transplant must be done, it is best to be done with the most care and with the best timing to achieve the desired result.