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Hardening off in SoCal?

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Hardening off in SoCal?

Post  Coelli on 5/2/2012, 4:00 pm

Noob here again. Very Happy

Although it's been cloudy and drizzly for a few days now I'm sure the hot sun will be back soon and am wondering how everyone transitions their seedlings to the outdoors here. Is it better to just plant the little guys and shade them during the afternoon?

I'm not at home during the day so doing the gradual hardening off isn't very practical unless a weekend will suffice.

Just wondering what others have done... I was intending to plant directly into the ground with a bunch of my seeds, but wound up having to stick a bunch of them in Jiffy pellets when my soil disaster became apparent, since they were already soaking. I tossed a bunch of them (waaah!) but here's what's cooking now in the pots:

Scotch Bonnet Pepper
Emerald Giant Bell Pepper
Mustard Habanero Pepper
Rainbow Chard
Vulcan Chard
Tall Telephone Peas
Brandywine Tomato
Red Grape Tomato
Tigger Melon
Honeydew Melon
Black Beauty Zucchini
Nasturtium

I lost the 4 kinds of carrots, the onions, the radishes, the marigolds.. Sad And the peas are questionable, they may have soaked for too long (plenty more seeds where those came from though).

I'm thinking the melons and zucchini and chard can go straight into the ground if they haven't sprouted yet by this weekend? I'll just take the netting off the pots and stick 'em in their squares (well, the zucchini is going into a 2x3 cement mixing tub). I know it's late in the year to be planting but thought I'd try anyway. Which reminds me, I need to start the pumpkins...

I was going to put the tomatoes and peppers under grow lights anyway but I'm unsure of how to transition them outside once they're ready. Uh.. when are they ready?

And here I thought gardening would be easy. Very Happy




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Re: Hardening off in SoCal?

Post  givvmistamps on 5/2/2012, 6:01 pm

How high up in the hills are you? Is it cold at night (cooler than 50 degrees)? That will help answer your question.

I'm close to sea-level here, and it got hot (80-90 degree days, 50-60 degree nights) earlier in the year than normal, so I direct-seeded everything. I didn't even soak my seeds, by the way. I just stuck the seeds in the soil and kept the garden very moist until they sprouted, then watered normally. I'm having horrible luck with some of my herbs, but my veggies are doing fantastic!
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Re: Hardening off in SoCal?

Post  Coelli on 5/2/2012, 6:13 pm

@givvmistamps wrote:How high up in the hills are you? Is it cold at night (cooler than 50 degrees)? That will help answer your question.

I'm close to sea-level here, and it got hot (80-90 degree days, 50-60 degree nights) earlier in the year than normal, so I direct-seeded everything. I didn't even soak my seeds, by the way. I just stuck the seeds in the soil and kept the garden very moist until they sprouted, then watered normally. I'm having horrible luck with some of my herbs, but my veggies are doing fantastic!

I think we're probably around 1500 feet? I haven't lived here that long so I am not sure. Smile It's been chilly lately and in the 50's at night.

Did you direct-seed tomatoes and peppers too?

I soaked the seeds mostly to try to speed up the sprouting. I'm impatient to see the little shoots!
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Re: Hardening off in SoCal?

Post  givvmistamps on 5/2/2012, 7:21 pm

Unfortunately, I got started too late in the season to grow tomatoes or peppers from seed, so I bought starts for those. Everything else was direct-sown in the garden.

I'd say 50s at night is probably safe for your summer crops. You could cover them if the temperatures are going to dip much below that, although we had a cold front move through and the temperatures got down to 42 for two nights not long after I sowed my seeds and nothing bad happened. In fact, I had all my seeds sprout even with seeds intended for last year's growing season. Everything came up! (Except some of my darn herbs!) If it's still chilly during the day, the plants might start a little slower, but they'll start, and catch up once the heat hits.

By the way, considering how tall those Western "hills" can be, I'd say you're not very high up. Having grown up in Washington State, I laughed at the mountains of the East when I first saw them...I thought they were no bigger than foothills. If you want to know the elevation, there should be a website out there that could tell you what elevation your town/city is at. That will help you determine how much cooler it will be where you live compared to the temperatures you might see on an LA TV channel or radio station.
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Re: Hardening off in SoCal?

Post  Lindacol on 5/2/2012, 7:40 pm

Set them outside in a shaded area for the first couple of days. While hardening off I put my seedlings under my tabletop bed next to the cinderblocks for the 1st couple of nights. Then I move them to an area where they will get some sun forat least a day or 2. Try to plant them in the evening or on a day that is going to be overcast or at least not hot.
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Re: Hardening off in SoCal?

Post  Chopper on 5/2/2012, 11:06 pm

@Lindacol wrote:Set them outside in a shaded area for the first couple of days. While hardening off I put my seedlings under my tabletop bed next to the cinderblocks for the 1st couple of nights. Then I move them to an area where they will get some sun forat least a day or 2. Try to plant them in the evening or on a day that is going to be overcast or at least not hot.
+1

I was going say start with that and bring them in at night then leave them out all night then in the sun then plant. They should be ready by then. I too just direct seed everything and sometimes buy tomato plants locally because who has the patience to wait for them.

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