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Hardening off Question

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Hardening off Question

Postby tpausch2 » May 10, 2008 1:30 am

I'm a newbie at starting vegetables from seed (and gardening in general). I started the seeds in March and many of them are now twice the size of their containers and starting to flower (I must thank everyone on the forum. I don't think I would have been as successful thus far if it weren't for your postings).
My original plan was to plant my little veggies out in the garden on the long weekend in May, as is recommended for GTA residents, but because some of the plants are getting so big I'd like to pant some of them this weekend instead. I've done some reading on the hardening off process and there is a strong opinion that plants should be 'hardened off' for 10 days before being planted in the garden, and to not rush this process. I only started to bring my plants outside 5 days ago.
My question is, can I put my vegetable plants out now (if there is no foreseeable sign of frost) even though I've only been taking them outside for the past 5 days?

Tanya
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Postby A Closet Canuck » May 10, 2008 9:04 am

You are right about hardening off. It is an important step in growing plants for outside. Unless you can control the night time temps outside it is best to continue hardening off.

Not only does the air need to be warmer but the soil needs to be warmer for some plants, too. If you google information for individual vegetables you will find minimum soil temperatures listed. I believe the minimum soil temp for tomatoes is 65F.

If your plants are getting too big and floppy you might consider transplanting them to a larger container and not fertilizing until you put them in the ground. My tomatoes go through two moves to larger containers before they go into the ground.
Trish in Iowa -- -- ..zone 5b or 6a
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------When your feet hit the floor each morning,
---------be the kind of woman about whom

---------the devil says, "[/code]Oh no! She's up!"
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Postby Sharon Bryson » May 10, 2008 10:50 am

One has to remember that the hardening off has a great deal more than just providing a change in temperature....the increase in sunlight, and wind will often be harder on a plant than just the cooler temps.
If you are unsure of the hardened off nature of your seedlings.....try giving then a bit of temporary shelter after you set them in the garden....some evergreen branches stuck in for shade.....a large plant pot with the bottom removed, etc.
There are very fancy cloche type protectors available, but mostly one would be able to improvise.
Cheers
Sharon
Antigonish, NS Zone 5b

"The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its' roots in earth and manure."
- D.H. Lawrence


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http://www.willowgarden.net/
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re: hardening off

Postby tpausch2 » May 10, 2008 1:16 pm

Thanks! I think I'll transplant some of the less cold tolerant plants (tomatoes) into larger containers and do the planting next week as originally planned.

T
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Postby Venice » May 10, 2008 3:07 pm

or could plant them, and then put the Tomato cages over them, and use some kind of protection on that, perhaps a blanket, some bubble wrap. Kind of use it like a mini 'coldframe'.

Ven
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Postby MareE » May 11, 2008 6:27 am

Hi, Tanya. For a few years I was under the misconception that hardening off veggie plants had to do with soil temperature only, miscounting the effect of wind on the babies.

Had a slow start this year and Toms still under gro-lites awaiting transfer to 4" pots and the great outdoors. They'll be lucky if planted out by mid-June but should be harvestable by late August/mid-September latest. If not, they're getting a BIG scolding. laffs

Great advice from Ven, Trish and Sharon!

MareE;o]
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Postby A Closet Canuck » May 11, 2008 10:15 am

MareE wrote:....They'll be lucky if planted out by mid-June but should be harvestable by late August/mid-September latest. If not, they're getting a BIG scolding. laffs
MareE;o]


Yes, that scolding of tomatoes always works! LOL LOL LOL So what tomatoes are you growing this year, Miss Mary????
Trish in Iowa -- -- ..zone 5b or 6a
.
------When your feet hit the floor each morning,
---------be the kind of woman about whom

---------the devil says, "[/code]Oh no! She's up!"
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Postby MareE » May 11, 2008 11:10 am


HAR!HAR! The unmentionable Toms this year, your Trishness (and how's the Champ?). Lessee, Inge's organic Schwarze Saras, BBQ Brenda's Heirloom Black & Green Zebras, Bonnie Bests and a San Marzano. And the usual unidentified Cherry. I think I'll have a few rows to tow/hoe. What about you?

MareE;o}
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Postby Lizcordysmum » May 11, 2008 8:05 pm

Okay, I plant my toms in pots/pails...I need one that is minimum of 6 ft tall right NOW. No I can't lie it down and plant it that way, I wish I could.
Cordy's Mum, Liz
Rain Coast, BC Zone 7b/8a


Nae words, nae quarrel
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Postby A Closet Canuck » May 12, 2008 6:34 pm

MareE wrote:
HAR!HAR! The unmentionable Toms this year, your Trishness (and how's the Champ?). Lessee, Inge's organic Schwarze Saras, BBQ Brenda's Heirloom Black & Green Zebras, Bonnie Bests and a San Marzano. And the usual unidentified Cherry. I think I'll have a few rows to tow/hoe. What about you?

MareE;o}


Ah, San Marzano, my favorite paste, by far. Other than that, I'm doing only 'Celebrity,' as I'm getting lazy in my old age. LOL LOL I've seen 'Bonnie Best' plants at the nursery but have never tried them.
Trish in Iowa -- -- ..zone 5b or 6a
.
------When your feet hit the floor each morning,
---------be the kind of woman about whom

---------the devil says, "[/code]Oh no! She's up!"
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