Dug a small 6" diameter hole ~3" deep. Put the cuke in and carefully covered the peat transplant mix with a thin layer of compost. The compost layer will help keep the peat from drying out too fast.
After the compost layer, just added wood chip mulch to fill in the hole.
For a comparison/control, another cucumber from the 6-pack was planted traditionally, just dug a small hole and filled it back in with garden dirt.
Here are the 2 6-pack transplants side by side. The one on the left was "no-wilt" planted. Right one was planted normally.
To my surprise and frustration, at first neither of them wilted. Then after a few days, the "no-wilt" planted one wilted just a little. The normally transplanted one continued to be perky.
At this point I questioned all my conclusions and thought maybe something else entirely is going on.
I carefully examined the soil around the "no-wilt" one. The peat mix was slightly dry, but not completely dry. However, the clay soil beneath was totally saturated. To much watering. Also I think there was too much wood chip mulch, it was cutting off access to oxygen. So I removed much of the mulch, leaving just a thin layer of wood chips.
Then I carefully looked at the soil around the "normal" transplant. The soil was saturated also. As I dug carefully around I found a small gopher tunnel next to the roots! A gopher has dug close to the cuke, but didn't go into the roots. Some of the roots dangled a little in the tunnel.
The tunnel had been providing the oxygen to keep the plant from wilting!
I filled in just half the tunnel and tried to leave a small hole next to the roots.
Here are the plants after all this investigation and poking around, about 12:30pm. Both were doing well.
About 4 hours later, here are the 2 plants again. The "no-wilt" one isn't wilting. And now after the gopher tunnel had been mostly filled in, the plant started wilting as I had originally expected it to when transplanting it.
Well maybe gopher tunnels can be used to help aerate transplant roots?