Flats or pots always need to have a good soaking before they are taken outdoors. We like to soak the plants in a bucket of water with seaweed until saturated before planting time. Using Garrett Juice in the water is also a good technique. Plant roots should be sopping wet and planted into a moist bed.
Pinching the lower leaves off of lettuce, cabbage family, and tomato transplants is normally a good idea. Do not pinch the leaves off eggplant, peppers, or any vine crops. To protect young plants from cutworms, slugs, and snails, sprinkle a healthy amount of diatomaceous earth around the plants after planting. Crushed hot pepper also works. Cedar flakes are also helpful.
Mulch to Protect Plants
After planting vegetables, cover all bare soil with at least three inches of mulch. Mulch is not a soil amendment to be mixed into the soil - it’s a covering placed on top of the soil after the plants have been installed. It helps conserve moisture, buffers the soil from temperature extremes, shades out weeds, looks good, increases the tilth of the soil, and supplies food for the microorganisms and nutrients for the soil. There’s only one exception. Wait to mulch spring seeded plants until after the soil has warmed.