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Regina SK Canada
kristinmacph
May 2, 2020 11:14 AM CST
Hi,
I am VERY new to vegetable gardening. I live in Regina SK.

I bought vegetable plants from greenhouse April 29th. They are strong and tall and in good shape. I remember my grandmother saying not to plant until May long weekend.

I have been taking the plants outside on our full sun sheltered deck when it is above 18 degree C, but it is supposed to be cool this week. (I bought two lightbulb grow lights for really cool days)

What temperature is safe to take strong plants out for the day? I read 18 degrees for smaller transplants. Is it the same for big strong plants? I need to keep them alive for 2-3 weeks lol. Please help..... I have no idea what I am doing :)

Thanks
Kristin
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Name: Big Bill
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BigBill
May 2, 2020 11:21 AM CST
I would say that if you have warm growing veggies like tomatoes and eggplant, you have to wait until you are confident most nights will be above 10 degrees C. That's why our Memorial Day weekend makes sense for you.
Here in Michigan, I'll put stuff out Mother's Day.
Coolers growing things like lettuce, spinach, And radishes can go out 2 weeks earlier.
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Name: Ken Isaac
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (Zone 7a)
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kenisaac
May 3, 2020 11:34 AM CST
kristinmacph said:
I am VERY new to vegetable gardening.

Welcome to your new Life-long pursuit of GREAT EATING and life-long LEARNING!
Yeah, its both!
I know your question, though, and I'll answer it last- in my rambling post.
kristinmacph said:I remember my grandmother saying not to plant until May long weekend.

My dad had lots of 'gardening wisdom' like your grandma, bless their gardening hearts to try to teach the new generation how to do what they loved! My dad: "Plant peas on St. patties day," "Tomatoes on mothers day," "no corn until that spot of snow on that mountain is gone!" Of course, these are super-specific to the region you live in. But now, I have built upon dads wisdom with resources he didn't have: Instant weather forecasts on a phone in my pocket, a wireless indoor-outdoor thermometer, cheap soil temperature probes, and the endless supply of internet knowledge- some very good, some less so!

But you should start with the basics. Every gardener should look up and know these things:

What is your local AVERAGE last frost date for your town? (Your Grandmothers' "don't plant until May long weekend" addresses this) This tells you when the average date, on any average year, it is safe to plant those tender transplants in the garden, and sow seed. And then you watch the weather forecasts and your thermometers, and if that surprise late frost comes, you run out and cover those plants with big buckets or row covers.

What is your AVERAGE frost free days each growing season (from AVE. last spring frost to AVE. first fall frost) This, of course, tells you what plants can be started from seed in the ground outside, and what plants you must start indoors yourself or purchase as transplants. Tomatoes and peppers need longer seasons than many of use have, so sowing the seeds in the garden won't work.

Local clubs and local nurseries / greenhouses can help you with those dates for your area.

kristinmacph said:
I bought vegetable plants from greenhouse April 29th. They are strong and tall and in good shape.

Here is the last wisdom from my youth that I remember, that totally still applies: "plant to early, and re-plant to often." So, the local greenhouses now usually "push" the growing season limits. In other words, most local nurseries, and the big-box stores, generally have those tender transplants earlier than you will usually plant them in your garden. Watch our for this! So, if you buy them that early, what will you do with them during the frosty nights? This is the place you find yourself now, so you take them out each day, and bring them back in.

-It may be you've purchased the plants to early.
-But if you wait, sometimes the selection isn't as good.
-And, many of us do just what you are doing.

Remember your transplants came from a greenhouse. They loved the heat and bright light and humidity- but this is not what your garden is like in the spring, and certainly not what it's like in your house. Really, you are trying to have the plants outside as much as possible, now, so they don't begin to decline. You are hardening them off, or transitioning them from indoors to outdoors. Research DIY coldframes, because that is probably a solution for you in future years. I saw my dad construct his year after year, for the early season growth of his tomato and pepper transplants early each season.

Your plants look good sized. I wouldn't let them go below 10 deg. celsius (50 deg F) outside, and watch any heavy or sustained winds, etc, but they need the outside now if you're going to plant in a week or two. If it stays above 10 deg C all night, I'd consider leaving them out all night. Watch for winds, because that can wreck havoc on tender transplants.
But in general, the growth they will have indoors now won't be beneficial to them. They need that bright sun and the breeze on their stems and leaves to get them ready for your garden, but in measured steps.

here is a technique i've used for years for seedlings.
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the clear box allows light and some breeze through, and the venting (propped up on one side) helps keep stronger winds out and allows excess heat to escape.
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keeping your potted transplants against a brick, rock or cement wall that the sun warms each day, and then bringing them back in can help keep them warm. Remember that this will be pretty harsh sun, as it reflects off the wall, so let them get used to it slowly over many days (more time in the sun each day) to avoid sunburn!
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these new transplants are in dappled sun (to avoid sunburn from harsher direct sun) under a tree that hasn't leafed out yet, and by the side of my truck to further block the strongest wind so they can adjust to the "real world" slowly. Next I'll move them them to full morning sun, afternoon shade, then they'll be garden ready anywhere.

In short, if you can accommodate it, they'll do better outside then in, on most days.
Does this help?

[Last edited by kenisaac - May 3, 2020 12:05 PM (+)]
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Regina SK Canada
kristinmacph
May 3, 2020 11:46 AM CST
Yes! That does help! I wish I would have been more interested when my grandma was around to help. She knew so much about all these great things.

My daughter and I have started some herb seedlings indoors as well. They are doing really well so far. We are feeling really proud of our little seedling garden. 😊

Thank you so much! Great information! I appreciate all the help.

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