Plant out young plants


Learn how to dig a small hole and plant out a young plant to the correct depth and spacing.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors
  • School term: Late Spring, Early Summer
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Maths, Science

Learning objectives

  • Learn to use the correct tool for the job
  • Learn what a plant needs in order to grow well


Gather tools and plants, water plants well so they are easy to remove from pots.

Check the plants have been ‘hardened off’ and are ready to plant out (usually about 5 – 10cms tall). 

Check bed is prepared (weed free, dug over and raked level).


  • RHS crop card or seed packet of plants
  • Trowels
  • Dibbers
  • Spacing rulers
  • String
  • Kneelers
  • Labels
  • Pens
  • Watering can
  • Seedlings to plant

Step by step

  1. Find out the correct spacing - distance to plant out the young plants along the row and between the rows (see RHS crop sheet or seed packet).
  2. Using a ruler or string, mark out the row by drawing the edge of the trowel along the ruler.
  3. Using a trowel or dibber, dig a small hole in the marked row, being careful to place the soil next to the hole. If the soil is very dry, water the hole.
  4. Gently remove the young plant from the pot or module by squeezing the bottom of the pot to loosen the root ball, then inverting the pot so that the young plant gently falls from the pot into your hand.
  5. Place the young plant into the hole, making sure the plant is not too deep in the hole. Back fill around the plant with the soil excavated. Gently firm around the plant. 
  6. Work along the row and continue planting by digging the next hole at the correct distance along the row.
  7. Water the plants in and don’t forget to label the row.

Hints & tips

  • For small plug plants with small root balls use a dibber to make the planting hole
  • Use the length of the trowel or dibber to measure spacing between plants
  • Use this activity as part of Grow Your Own Lunch class growing topic

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