Bedding plants are transplant ready seedlings that are available at nurseries and local garden centers in flats or individually. They are usually in plastic pots, peat pots, peat pellets, clay pots and plastic cell packs.
The following describes how to plant seedling that have been growing in plastic or clay containers. Remove the plant from the container by turning it upside-down and gently tapping or squeezing the container until the plant and root ball fall into your hand. If the plant is thickly matted with roots, free the roots by rubbing the root ball with your hands. In severe cases, use a knife to cut part way into the root ball, then spread it apart with your hands.
Use a trowel or your hands to make a hole in the soil deep enough to cover the root ball or just slightly deeper. Set the plant in the hole at the same depth or slightly deeper than it was growing in the container. Firmly press soil around roots and make a small basin that slopes toward the plant. The basin will catch rain or irrigation water and direct it toward the roots. Water the plant to settle the soil around the roots.
Plantable containers such as peat pots or peat pellets can be buried, but be sure their upper edges are below soil level. If not, the exposed edges will pull water from the root ball to the air.
Evenings or cool, cloudy days are the safest times to transplant the seedlings. Hot afternoons, windy days or cold days are the least promising time to plant. Protection for the new transplant is often required. Depending on the weather, use a canopy or something similar to provide afternoon shade or a hot cap for evening warmth.
You can have an early crop by setting out transplants before the anticipated last frost of spring. If you decide to do this, you will need to provide some type of protection for them, such as plastic or glass covers. Choose a cover that is easy to remove during the day when the temperature warms up.