Starting and Finishing a New Bed Using the Paperpot Transplanter

You may have just purchased your Paperpot Transplanter and are raring to go load it up with transplants and run the tool up and down your beds. You’ve watched videos, you’ve listened to podcasts, and you’ve heard how your fellow growers work it on their farms.

But just to be on the safe side, maybe you want just one more walkthrough on how to transplant a bed properly. Lucky for you, Paperpot Co. released a video where Urban Farmer Curtis Stone talked about how to start a row with the Paperpot Transplanter, how to end a row with it, and what to do when you run out of transplants right smack in the middle of doing a bed.

To Start

Before transplanting, place your Paperpot transplanter at the edge of the bed, making sure that the tool’s furrower is right where the bed starts, which means placing the transplanter so that the rear end sits just a bit outside of the end of the bed.

Once the tool is in position, place the flat of transplants on the tray platform, sliding the plate underneath the paper chains to facilitate its travel down the chute. On the tool, Curtis likes to keep landscape pins, which he uses to start, turn around, and reconnect chains when he happens to run out of transplants.

To start transplanting, Curtis took the first pot in the paper chain, guided it along the transplanter and into the chute, and secured it to the ground using the landscape pins. Once that first pot was in place, Curtis pulled the transplanter along the bed for a few feet before noticing that the transplants were buried into the soil too deep.

So, he adjusted the transplanting depth, which resulted in the transplants being more visible in the row. After running the planter for a length, he came back to cover the first transplanted pot with more soil, took away the landscape pin, and proceeded to transplant the rest of the row.

Reaching the End of the Bed

When he reached the end of a bed, Curtis shared a trick that happens to be particularly relevant to urban farmers, farmers who have shorter beds, or farmers who are unable to or have difficulty with pulling the transplanter all the way to the end of the bed.

Once the front wheels reached the end of the bed, Curtis then lifted the front of the transplanter and, while keeping the back wheels on the ground, pulled the transplanter along the row, allowing the back wheels to plant the last of the paper pots. When the transplants reached the end of the bed, Curtis ripped off the paper chains and secured them into the soil by hand.

In case the transplants get buried too deep in the process, Curtis would come back and fix them by hand.

Finishing a Row by Hand

If for any reason, you’re unable to pull the transplanter all the way until the end of the bed—or in Curtis’ video, he hit his post and was unable to finish the end of the row with the transplanter—assuming you have enough in your transplant flat, you can estimate how many pots you need to finish the row, rip that section of the chain, take the transplanter off the bed, and bury the chains by hand.

In the video, Curtis first used his hand to make a furrow in the soil before taking his paper chain pots and covering them up in soil.

Starting a New Chain in the Middle of a Row

When Curtis ran out of transplants in the midst of doing a row, he pulled the transplanter just enough until the last paper pot was in the soil before placing a new flat on the tray platform. Leaving about a six-inch gap from the last paper pot in the furrow, he secured the first paper pot of the new tray with a landscape pin and continued transplanting the rest of the row.

Final Reminders

When you’re starting out, remember to have the furrow line right up to the start of the bed. Pull the transplanter back for about a couple of feet and secure the first paper pot with a landscape pin. It’s advisable to start slowly to be able to see if the transplants are going into the ground properly—not too shallow, and not too deep—and to be able to adjust as needed.

Once the chain pots go into the ground at a good depth, then you can transplant faster. In case the chain pots are still getting buried despite making adjustments, you can try either lifting up the handle of the tool to stop it from burying the chain pots too deeply, or you can try pushing down on the handle so that the rear end of the tool is lifted up from the ground.

Curtis also shared that the best soil to work the Paperpot Transplanter on is soil that is not freshly tilled. Beds that are firm and have been tamped down are, according to Curtis, the most ideal soil conditions to work with.


New to the Paperpot System? Check out our free resources all about the paperpot transplanter!

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