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Same Question New Month

Post  gettip on 4/1/2010, 8:59 am

I asked this question at the beginning of March when it was still cold, since then it has been in the 70's and snowed, typical Ohio weather. The question, I started my seedlings indoors under lamps two weeks ago, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, brussel sprouts, and perennial flowers. Some of them are putting on their second leaves now and some are still sprouting. I have constructed a cold frame that was for the purpose of moving the seedlings to continue their growth. I am concerned that by starting them in the house I will need to harden them off before I make the full transition to the cold frame. It is still 6 weeks before the last frost date in my area, but the temps for this week are in the 70's with 40's at night. Looking for any advice about this transition from home to cold frame with seedlings.
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Re: Same Question New Month

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/1/2010, 10:19 am

Hi get. I've never been west of Montana and I'm told that Pacific gardening is different than yours but MAYBE my dumb answer will get the experienced people going to correct me.

In the PNW the Brussels sprouts and some herbs (parsley, cilantro, and maybe thyme) can start hardening off NOW in a cold frame during the day. After about a week, if they do not seem stressed they can stay the night in the cold frame. In about 2 weeks, if they are not stressed, if the weather is looking good (and if you are so inclined, if the moon is right) you can start planting them out. Late April may be a tad early for these seedlings if started under lights. I don't know when your last frost date is. Cole crops (Brussels) are tough but starting them under lights makes them a little tender. Be ready to cover them with a cloche (a glass or plastic mini green house) if you are going to have frost. Talk to Boffer about his SFG with a cold frame built right on, I think he has pictures.

The tomatoes can go in larger pots with either mel's mix or regular potting soil (instead of starter mix). They can also go into the cold frame on warm days. If they have been growing under lights all this time than they are uber tender. At first they can go out when daytime temps are above 55(ish) but bring them in at night if temps are going to go below 55ish. After 2 or 4 days, if they are not looking stressed (new growth should have a nice green color, stems should be looking for the sun, it is ok if original leaves yellow and fall off) They can start going out when it is as cool as 40 during the day but still need to come in if it is cooler then that at night. In the PNW the tomatoes would be living in the cold frame until about the 2nd week of June. Sometime in May I would start propping open the lid on warm days. I would be watching the inside temp of the cold frame and opening the lid just a couple of inches if it gets above 80 or so.

Where I live, peppers and basil could end up being a do-over, but you might not have the same problem with them where you are. Our summer isn't really summer until about July 10. Dumb luck happens for me. I just cannot start mine that early and still get peppers. I bet someone from Ohio has better ideas for you though.

Deborah ....not sure that helps but maybe it will start the locals answering?
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