Ask a Question forum: Started seeds too early

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Name: Mike
Woburn, MA (Zone 6a)
PotatoTusnami
Apr 28, 2017 6:47 AM CST
Hi,

I think I may have started my seeds too early this year. Ive already had to transplant from my stater flats into 4 inch pots. I'm growing a variety of things;

Cherry Tomatoes - About 10" tall
Cayenne Peppers - 5" tall
2 types of Cucumbers - 6-8" long and starting to flower

My plants aren't leggy but they are pretty big. I have them sitting under a florescent grow light by a window which I leave open during the day so they can get some air.

My question is, now that the weather has finally broke and I'm getting ready to transplant, do I still need to harden of if they're this far into maturity?


Thank you
Mike


Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 28, 2017 7:27 AM CST
Yes, it's a good idea to gradually harden them, if you don't want the plants to be set back by a few weeks. If they go straight out into the garden, and then you have a few cold nights, they will all just stop ! ! for a short time, but blooming and continued growth will take longer to resume. You'll lose some of your advantage of starting them so early.

Also, if the ground is still pretty cold, that will slow them down as well. Better to start leaving them out overnight while they're still in their pots, and at first only when the nights are above say @ 50deg. Then if you do have a late cold snap, not all that unusual, you can whisk them back inside for a few nights.

On the tomatoes, be sure you plant them deep, too. All that hairy stem can go underground right up to the first set of leaves, and the hairs will form new roots. You can ONLY do this for the tomatoes though.

If you do get a cold snap after you put them into the ground, just cover them with an old sheet or tablecloth to keep the worst of the cold air from stopping growth.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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Weedwhacker
Apr 28, 2017 7:35 AM CST
Welcome to NGA, Mike ( @PotatoTusnami ).

Yes, you definitely still need to harden your plants off before planting them outside. They need to gradually acclimate not only to the sun, but to the wind. I cover mine with "floating row cover" (Reemay, Agribon, etc) for a week or two after setting them out.

I'd also plant your cherry tomato deeper than it's growing in its present pot (take off some of the lower branches), to give it a strong root system.

Happy gardening! Smiling
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
Image
Weedwhacker
Apr 28, 2017 7:36 AM CST
Cross-posted with Elaine! Smiling
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities[/I] / Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Name: Mike
Woburn, MA (Zone 6a)
PotatoTusnami
May 1, 2017 11:56 AM CST
Thank you both for the advice!

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