I have started plants indoors from seed, then hardened them off in a cold frame, and just planted them out into my vegetable bed in my back garden. The plants had been fine and looked very healthy all the way through until I put them in the ground. There are holes in the leaves and a slight discolouration.
Any ideas about the cause (and/or remedies) will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your question. The discolouration may be related to the holes…my answer about those is adapted from another similar question to the Toronto Master Gardeners. You can find our information by using the Find it Here Search button on our home page: torontomastergardeners.ca. If the discolouration continues and the leaves turn completely brown, then it would be the case that the hardening off process may not have been long enough and the plants are suffering from cold exposure.
The holes are most likely from insects. Your plants are meeting the great outdoors. The secret is out in the insect world that you have an inviting garden out there. It would be a good idea to have a look at what’s eating your plants. Many vegetable gardening books and websites can help you identify them. I will discuss two possibilities.
Spraying leaves with organic insecticidal soap would be a deterrent to leaf-cutter bees. Depending on how many plants you have, you may want to consider separating out a few sacrificial host plants that you can leave soap free for the bees to enjoy. After all, they are pollinators.
Whitefly populations are controllable with proper insecticidal soap application, but there are also some cultural measures you may want to consider. Whiteflies thrive within dense growths combined with poor air circulation. Depending on the size and space availability of your garden, you might want to create more open air circulation among the plants. It may also be helpful to mix in more variety in your plant groupings.
To further aid you in your organic methods here are a few more references for you;