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Getting Very Frustrated

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Post  scmelik 4/24/2011, 10:17 pm

I know that I have brought this up before but I am starting to very frustrated. The only plants that I had that were doing well were my peppers, in fact they were doing great. Last week I transplanted them into MM in styrofoam cups because I could see the roots coming out of the starting cups, I just took the entire pellet and put it into the MM.

Until today the weather has been really crappy and I haven't been able to put them outside at all. Today we FINALLY got nice weather, it was suppose to be about 60 degrees with very light wind. I put them about at about 10 this morning and it was about 50 degrees and no wind. They were outside for about 3 hours while I was at the golf course. When I got home I brought them in and went fishing for a few hours. When I got home they were turing brown and falling over.

I don't get what is going on my all my plants they just keep dying. They will go great till they get to about 2-3 inches tall and then they die. What am I doing wrong?
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Post  quiltbea 4/24/2011, 11:07 pm

What zone are you in? It might be a little early for peppers.

Did you harden them off by putting them outside in the shade for only an hour the first day? You don't just put them outside in direct sunlight the first couple of days. You put them out in the shade first, then for longer the next day, again in the shade. Air temps are best around 60*F or higher.
After that you let them stay in the sunshine for only about an hour or so with shade for about 3 hours. The times outdoors get longer each day in shade and sunshine. The time outdoors has to be gradual until you plant them outdoors after a week of hardening off.

Maybe someone else can shed some light on the subject.
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Post  CarolynPhillips 4/24/2011, 11:20 pm

I agree. Direct Sun and low temps was too harsh. Must be hardened off in partial sun. They are now scorched. Sun burn. Depending on how bad it was==they may not survive.
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Post  Goosegirl 4/25/2011, 8:17 am

scmelik: I think it is just too early for peppers for us in NESD. Only my tomatoes got put out for just an hour yesterday, but only because I was out getting my next beds ready and I checked on them every 15 minutes or so. Even though it didn't feel windy to me, I could see my little seedlings waving all over the place and I kept moving them for better protection. It doesn't take much sun and wind to dry out and shrivel up the little seedlings in cups. Hopefully they are not toast, but if so, head up to Lou's in Big Stone for Plan B!

TC
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Post  dizzygardener 4/25/2011, 8:59 am

Peppers are warm season plants. They are VERY sensitive to cold temperatures. 50° is really pushing them to their limits. They also need to be hardened off slowly before they can go outside. When you start out it should be one hour outside and out of direct sunlight. You gradually increase they exposure from then on.

Although there are certain things that can be fudged a bit on either side, there are rules to gardening. Your warm season plants must be put out when it is warm, you need to harden your plants off, etc.

I know it can get tiresome to wait and wait especially when you read about others on the forums with flourishing gardens, but you have a shorter growing season up there in SD. You have a later last frost date. You are in a different hardiness zone. All of this has bearing on what you can grow and when you can grow it.

Do you have the All New SFG book? There is a chart at the back of the book that will provide you with a guideline for when things should be going outside.

If your seedlings fail you can always purchase transplants this year until you get the hang of seed starting (which, by the way, is not an easy process at all).

Remember, Mel suggests that you start small and gradually step things up as you get more comfortable. Just slow it down a bit and you will be less frustrated.
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Post  Icemaiden 4/25/2011, 9:25 am

I try to put seedlings by an open window (or inside the backdoor) as a first stage. If it is windy or rainy then that can be a good way to start hardening things off, then the outside stages can go faster.
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Post  quiltbea 4/25/2011, 9:59 am

Another tip when starting your own seed is to strengthen them by brushing a piece of printer or note paper over them gently each time you go check on them while they are still under the lights or in the sunny window. Its like a slight breeze. Be gentle, but do it daily, even twice or 3 times a day.

I start when they are about 2 inches tall and do this very, very gently.

This is my 2nd year starting my own seeds and its been a learning experience. I had to get used to how much moisture the little dickens needed to germinate so I had to spritz them a few times a day while they were still unborn.
I had several that dried out on the heat mat and had to be tossed.
Then I had to learn when was the best time to transplant them into larger quarters. Believe me, I'm still learning that by trial and error.
That's why I start a lot more than I'll need and any excess is given to friends or goes to the library plant sale.

You'll get the gist of it. It takes time, like anything else, but its worth it to see those varieties you can't get in the nursery or an heirloom you've only heard about growing in your own garden.

You can always restart again next spring and buy seedlings at the nursery this year if yours fail.
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Post  scmelik 4/25/2011, 10:39 am

maybe this is where I am confused because warm to me must not be warm to plants. For warm season plants how warm does it have to be to put them outside?
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Post  camprn 4/25/2011, 10:45 am

@scmelik wrote:maybe this is where I am confused because warm to me must not be warm to plants. For warm season plants how warm does it have to be to put them outside?
Sad I know exactly what you mean!!


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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 4/25/2011, 10:52 am

@scmelik wrote:maybe this is where I am confused because warm to me must not be warm to plants. For warm season plants how warm does it have to be to put them outside?

No doubt this is part of it. Forgive me for laughing because I have friends from Anchorage that can really relate. They come for visits and want to go swimming when it's 82F outside and the water is only in the upper 60s. You wouldn't catch me dead in that water. But, they love it.

Humans apparently "harden off" a bit to their climates, too. However, tomatoes and peppers don't grow native to SD to my knowledge. They are imports. Maybe over the generations some will adapt, but that's a ways off....and a breeder's challenge.

You are generally looking for daytime temps in the 80s and overnights in the 60s consistently for peppers and tomatoes. A couple of nights here and there won't affect them much, but a week or more that doesn't meet these temps will stunt the growth. Once your temps start hitting the 80s daily, they will really take off, though.
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Post  scmelik 4/25/2011, 10:59 am

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote:
@scmelik wrote:maybe this is where I am confused because warm to me must not be warm to plants. For warm season plants how warm does it have to be to put them outside?

No doubt this is part of it. Forgive me for laughing because I have friends from Anchorage that can really relate. They come for visits and want to go swimming when it's 82F outside and the water is only in the upper 60s. You wouldn't catch me dead in that water. But, they love it.

Humans apparently "harden off" a bit to their climates, too. However, tomatoes and peppers don't grow native to SD to my knowledge. They are imports. Maybe over the generations some will adapt, but that's a ways off....and a breeder's challenge.

You are generally looking for daytime temps in the 80s and overnights in the 60s consistently for peppers and tomatoes. A couple of nights here and there won't affect them much, but a week or more that doesn't meet these temps will stunt the growth. Once your temps start hitting the 80s daily, they will really take off, though.

if i gotta wait until its 80 during the day and 60 at night on average, I am waiting till the end of next month before I can do much. I guess these are notes I will have to make and push my cool water plants next year early on and then wait till about now to get my warm weather plants inside about now.
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Post  quiltbea 4/25/2011, 12:22 pm

I'm in Maine, Zone 5A, and tho I can put out cool-weather crops.....broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage last week and cauliflower this week, I still have to be careful of freezing nite temps so I have old towels and sheets ready and my heavy row cover if its only a light frost expected.
Even these I hardened off for a week, an hr, 2 hrs, more and more till they were outside overnite.

My peppers and tomatoes won't go in the garden til the end of May at the earliest.

Unless you tent them or have a hoop house, you'll have to be careful of their temps needs. With added protection, they can go outside weeks earlier because they'll always be covered against the cool nites and they will gather heat from being under cover during the day.

Another good time for cool-weather crops for you is in the fall. They don't have to worry about going to seed from hot weather. Start them in the summer, right in the garden, but be sure you sow them an extra 2-3 weeks plus their days to maturity before your first frost date in the fall to give them growing time. The cooler it is, the slower they grow.

Good luck.
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Post  Old Hippie 4/25/2011, 12:42 pm

@scmelik wrote:
if i gotta wait until its 80 during the day and 60 at night on average, I am waiting till the end of next month before I can do much. I guess these are notes I will have to make and push my cool water plants next year early on and then wait till about now to get my warm weather plants inside about now.

That is exactly why I have to wait until at LEAST the long weekend in May before we can put tomatoes out and even then, I have to be vigilant. We can have frost up until the 12th of June. Looking at the calendar and when the full moon is, I am thinking we might have to watch for frost this year until about the 15th.

Sucks, doesn't it. Getting Very Frustrated 82241

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