Remember the seeds we labored over a few weeks back…the ones started inside to get a head start on the growing season. Well, if all has been growing well it is probably time to “harden off” or “pot up.” In the style of modern communication; HO or PU. To HO seedlings, be patient and spend a few days giving them time to acclimate to the outdoors and they should be ready to plant.
In my area (USDA Zone 6, Sunset 2a/3b), it is a good time to plant cool season vegetables and my lettuce and kale are ready to go to their outdoor home. They’ve spent about 3 days outside, protected from wind, but getting a bit more light exposure each day. I would typically plant them tomorrow but the night temps are going to dip below freezing in the next couple of days so I’ll wait until they stabilize (hover around 32-33) before planting. Most cool season vegetables can take a light freeze (29ish-32) but I don’t want to shock the young seedlings to that extent the first night outside.
If your warm season seedlings have grown well over the last few weeks it may be time to PU. You’ll need some slightly larger containers, seed starting mix, spray bottle and pencil to begin the PU process. The stems of the young plants are super fragile so be careful and try to handle by leaves if possible. When they are in the new container be sure to give them a good soak and place back in the growing station for warmer days ahead.
My tomato plants have done very well and I have seedlings of all three varieties I planted. Remember the tomato seeds my friend sent me? They have no official name because she couldn’t remember what it was but the plant was so fantastic she wanted to share it. Well, these babies have shot up especially well and I think just about every seed I planted sprouted! I have given them the unofficial name of ‘Karen’ as I need to remember them somehow. I chose terra-cotta pots to plant into as this size container should last until I can get them outside in about three-four weeks.
My Dark Opal Basil and ‘Tequila Sunrise’ Peppers have been a bit slower but I think they will be happier in slightly larger containers as well. I’m happy they are all a good color and not too leggy. One thing to consider if your seedlings were started in very small containers (like mine) and their growth is only about 2 inches but seems to have slowed recently, it may be a good idea to PU. I found with my basil and peppers the root systems were significant when compared to the size of the seedling and a larger container is perfect to continue growth until ready to head outside in mid-May.
How are your seedlings doing? Have you successfully planted some outside or are you waiting awhile and deciding to PU? Share some of your successes or set backs so far this Spring…