Daylilies forum: Hardening off

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Name: Tina
Greenup, Ky (Zone 6b)
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beenthere
Mar 27, 2018 7:47 AM CST
There are 285 seedlings now, with all but 33 up-potted. Also 100+ in cold/moist strat in the frig that will hit 6 wks in on April 1. Running out of light space and want to shift at least those that are 1 month old outside. My plan is to keep them overnights in the insulated garage (night time temps there are low 50's) and outside whenever it's 60 degrees or more. Supposed to be mostly overcast this week and I'll watch closely. The garage acts as windbreak and it's easy to move them from the shelves to the driveway. Is it still too cool to do this? Will winter ever end? Help! Tina
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[Last edited by beenthere - Mar 27, 2018 8:10 AM (+)]
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Name: Tina
Greenup, Ky (Zone 6b)
Image
beenthere
Mar 27, 2018 8:11 AM CST
Make that 287 seedlings up, just checked.
McLean, VA (Zone 6b)
daylilly99
Mar 27, 2018 8:20 AM CST
Tina, mine have been on the glassed in porch (quite near the single thickness sliding glass doors) for at least a month now. Night temperatures have been as low as 27 outside during that time, but of course going up and down. They look somewhat yellowish but so do most of my outside daylilies unless they are quite dormant. It seems to me you could very safely transition them outside in a period of a week or less, as long as there are no more freezes predicted.

Wednesday looks good here for mine to move off the porch and I plan to throw a frost blanket on if there are any more freezing temperatures predicted but I hope to start getting them in the ground within a week of moving them out.
Name: Tina
Greenup, Ky (Zone 6b)
Image
beenthere
Mar 27, 2018 8:29 AM CST
Thank You, Daylily99. We are in the same zone, so that is so helpful. Plan on planting out starting April 15, hopefully. Tina
Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Mar 27, 2018 9:24 AM CST
With the temperatures you're getting, the day/night outside shuttle is the way to go. This will minimize leaf die-back when you eventually line them out in the garden.

Maintain your "summer photoperiod" by waking them up early with the lights before hauling them outside, and giving them some extra light after bringing them back inside.
Name: Tina
Greenup, Ky (Zone 6b)
Image
beenthere
Mar 27, 2018 10:34 AM CST
Thanks, Ken. But unless I have too, they won't be coming back in under the lights. I just shuttled 5 (36 cell flats) out to the garage and I'm pretty sure I'll not want to do that again. Heavy, they are. The garage faces south and I have them right inside the open door where they can get what light there is today, but be protected from the breezes. I read somewhere that even an overcast day outside is more beneficial than 14 hrs under lights, hoping it's true. Two young flats and the 35 itty bitty ones now have adequate light. I'll take the others out of the fridge Sunday, and the whole thing will begin again. I do so hope this works! Tina
Name: Tina
Greenup, Ky (Zone 6b)
Image
beenthere
Mar 30, 2018 2:59 PM CST
Well, they're on their third day out with nights spent in the garage. There are now six flats with another to go out tomorrow. All seem to be fine, still growing, the weather has been perfect. Bit chilly today at 54 degrees, but I knew they needed the light. Got their first bit of real sunshine today! Now, if I can just keep from cooking them.
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Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Mar 30, 2018 4:20 PM CST
beenthere said:...I just shuttled 5 (36 cell flats) out to the garage and I'm pretty sure I'll not want to do that again. Heavy, they are.


It's definitely a lot of work and bother, and I wondered about that, but it sounded as if you were determined. Rereading your post, I understand now that the light tables were in the house, and these plants aren't going back there.

The "extra day-length lighting combined with bright days outside" was a trick I used last winter when I started some seed in the fall and tried to maximize their growth over winter. I only had 3 grow bags to shuttle, with 6-8 seedlings per 1-gallon bag. Without running a control group I couldn't say how much difference it really made, except that they were really husky and definitely "pre-hardened" when it came time to leave them outside. The biggest problem was spider mites, which thrived in the dry indoor conditions.

Your seedlings will be happy out there. Plants grow longer, wider leaves in an attempt to compensate for lower light intensities. Under the sun, the top growth will be stocky, so they might not appear to be growing as fast as plants under lights, but they're growing "better", with thicker crowns and more roots.



Name: Tina
Greenup, Ky (Zone 6b)
Image
beenthere
Mar 30, 2018 4:57 PM CST
Thanks, Ken. And, that's exactly why I felt I had to "rip the bandaid off" and get them out there. Some were becoming weak and floppy, especially the tall, willowy Military School cross seedlings. Those are right next to Mirror Shade crosses that have been like little oaks. Had no idea that different CV's would result in such a difference in seedling growth pattern. Who knew? I put up a bit of a windbreak on the breezy side, but they are already so much stronger. Couldn't put them inside the yard/porch d/t our plant destroying puppy. Still, I breath a sigh of relief every night when I put them back in the safety of the garage, and another sigh when I see that none have died next morning. I'm sure I'll get more casual about the whole thing as I gain experience. But, maybe not.

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