The Q&A Archives: Caring for Seedlings While Out-Of-Town

Question: I have started numerous seeds for the coming season and am experiencing great success. However, I am concerned because I will have to go out-of-town for four days and will be unable to tend to my seedlings/seeds. To prevent them from drying out I was thinking I could move them away from the bright south facing window (and I would obviously not be able to keep the flourescent lights on them). How much damage will this lower light level cause? Is this worse than running the risk of having them dry out?

Answer: In my experience it is best to find a plant sitter, preferably a kindred gardener, to come in and check the seedlings. The smaller they are the riskier it is and the larger they are the more upsetting it is if something happens. The few days away from the light can cause them to elongate an amazing amount but even worse, if they dry out they will die. If you have no choice, reduce the temperatures to keep them cool to slow them down and help them stay moist longer and keep them in at least moderate light. (I would avoid the extra heat and drying effect from the lights.) You could also try wrap them loosely in clear plastic (such as dry cleaner bags) to conserve moisture yet allow a bit of air movement and place them in a bright location (but out of direct sunlight which would cause overheating). Good luck with your seedlings!

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