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Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

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Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  kimberlee on 5/7/2012, 2:01 pm

I've been hardening off my 6 tomato and 3 pepper transplants that I bought last week from the local garden center (Homestead Gardens - much better quality in my experience compared to Home Depot). The peppers are about 6" tall, tomatoes vary from 6"-10" tall. I've had my squares covered with red sheet mulch for over a month to prepare/warm up the soil.

The forecast for the rest of the week is high in the 70s/low 60 at night, with showers expected over the next few days. Should I try to get them planted today? Or wait until after the weather warms up more? I wasn't sure which would be less of a shock to them.

I'll definitely continue to hold off on planting the basil outside though.

Kim
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  rowena___. on 5/7/2012, 5:01 pm

all that is safe whenever the nights are consistently over 55ºF, even the basil.
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  quiltbea on 5/7/2012, 5:45 pm

Get your trowel ready and start planting. You are having perfect temps for your toms and peppers. As long as they have hardened off and know the feel of sunlight and evenings, go to it.

Edited to add: Remember, both crops should be transplanted deeper than the container they come from. Tomatoes can go quite deep with only a few greens showing above the soil (remember to pinch off any branches getting buried) and the peppers can go another inch deeper than their current container.

Also be sure to put a couple of toothpicks on either side of the stem, buried half way in the soil, against the plants to prevent cutworms from cutting them off at the soil line.

Good luck.
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  kimberlee on 5/7/2012, 6:09 pm

quiltbea wrote:Also be sure to put a couple of toothpicks on either side of the stem, buried half way in the soil, against the plants to prevent cutworms from cutting them off at the soil line.

Toothpicks - BRILLIANT! I'll add that to the growing list of ingenious ideas I've learned on these forums.

Two on each of the 4 sides?

For some reason, I baby my basil more than tomatoes. I don't know why, but I hate seeing the black on those leaves when it's too chilly for them. If the rain holds off, I shall be planting tomorrow!
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  quiltbea on 5/7/2012, 6:52 pm

@kimberlee.......I use only 2 toothpicks, one on each side of a stem. If the stem has many sections, like some Brussels sprouts, I might use 3 or 4 toothpicks evenly spaced around the base of the stem.
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  floyd1440 on 5/7/2012, 8:11 pm

I put two tomato plants out becasue they were outgrowing my solo cups and I had planted then first. I put them in 6 inches deeper so hopefully they will be OK

Now I have two questions.

1 I hardenned them off inmy garage but moved them inside were it is much cooler and they have somewhat wilted; how long should they be hardenned off before planting them?

2 From Mel's book peppers goi n a few weeks after the last frost date but I read that many people plant them when they plant their tomatoes...So when should I plant them?

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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  camprn on 5/7/2012, 8:15 pm

floyd1440 wrote:

2 From Mel's book peppers goi n a few weeks after the last frost date but I read that many people plant them when they plant their tomatoes...So when should I plant them?

Plant peppers and tomatoes at the same time AFTER the danger of frost has past, unless you know you are going to be around to cover then if you get a cold snap. At least that's my rule. What a Face

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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  quiltbea on 5/8/2012, 12:12 pm

They really need to be hardened off outdoors if they are to get used to being in your garden. The first day or 2 its just a few hours outside, in the shade mostly. The next couple of days in the sunshine for 2-3 hours only and the rest of the day in the shade. After that keep extending time outside in the sunshine so they get used to the wind, the sunshine, the cooler mornings and evenings. After about 7 days, leave them outside overnight, UNLESS you are going to get a frosty night. Bring them inside in that case. After about 10-14 days they can go into your garden. With me its usually in 10 days.
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  Goosegirl on 5/8/2012, 2:04 pm

quiltbea wrote:They really need to be hardened off outdoors if they are to get used to being in your garden. The first day or 2 its just a few hours outside, in the shade mostly. The next couple of days in the sunshine for 2-3 hours only and the rest of the day in the shade. After that keep extending time outside in the sunshine so they get used to the wind, the sunshine, the cooler mornings and evenings. After about 7 days, leave them outside overnight, UNLESS you are going to get a frosty night. Bring them inside in that case. After about 10-14 days they can go into your garden. With me its usually in 10 days.

Thanks for the timeline! This will help me (hopefully) avoid what happened last year when I left all my 'maters out for 4 hours on the first day, full sun, and unexpected high winds! I was at work and didn't know about the winds, but the rest was my fault, and I lost all but 3 of my 20+ 'maters. Thank goodness for volunteers! Shocked Embarassed tongue Rolling Eyes

GG

PS - printed it so Hubby and I both can have some guidelines for NOT killing the tomatoes!
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  floyd1440 on 5/8/2012, 7:28 pm

The 10 days is a good guide for hardenning off tomatoes. I have a few issues with my plants though as I have TONS of deer and my garden, which is fenced off, is 150 yards from my house so constantly moving my plants up and down the hill would be very labor intensive.

Currently I have them in my garage, which is close to the temperature outside, and will take them outside during the weekend for some sun hopefully.

Will that work for hardenning them off?



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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  floyd1440 on 5/8/2012, 8:17 pm

quiltbea wrote:

Edited to add: Remember, both crops should be transplanted deeper than the container they come from. Tomatoes can go quite deep with only a few greens showing above the soil (remember to pinch off any branches getting buried) and the peppers can go another inch deeper than their current container.

I got my toms in solo cups and they are 5 inches deep. So do I take them out and cut off half of the root ball and bury them deep? If I don't fuss with the root structure they will be above the soil line.
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  quiltbea on 5/8/2012, 9:19 pm

@floyd.....for Tomatoes, NO, don't cut off the root ball. Just slip the plant out of the cup in one piece (sometimes watering it a little before turning it upsidedown and out of the pot helps it slide out easier). If the roots are tangled in a circle, just pluck some of them loose with your fingers or separate them down the sides.

Make your hole deep enough so that the plant and all its roots are below the soil level by a few inches. You only need the topmost green branches to be above soil level by a couple of inches. Be sure you snap off any branches that will be under the soil so they don't rot.

In time roots will spring up all along the stem that you've buried beneath the soil and make your plant strong. Holding the top branches up straight, gently pour the soil back in around the plant (I use a plastic scoop or my trowel) and press the soil down gently all around it. Not firmly, gently. When you water it the soil will settle and remove any air pockets so water it well. Making a slight saucer depression around the top of the plant will help reserve water. Be sure to prevent cutworm damage in some manner. I use 2 toothpicks, one on each side of the stem buried about halfway so the cutworm can't curl around the stem.
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  quiltbea on 5/8/2012, 9:22 pm

@floyd.....If you are hardening mostly in the garage, I would cover the newly-planted transplants with tulle or cheesecloth or row cover or even some cardboard slanted over the plants so the sun isn't too bright for them the first few days. It will also reduce wind damage until they are strong enough on their own.
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  mrwes40 on 5/8/2012, 9:39 pm

quiltbea wrote:@kimberlee.......I use only 2 toothpicks, one on each side of a stem. If the stem has many sections, like some Brussels sprouts, I might use 3 or 4 toothpicks evenly spaced around the base of the stem.

I use a small paper dixie cup, it's how my Dad did it.

Bill
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  mrwes40 on 5/8/2012, 9:40 pm

quiltbea wrote:They really need to be hardened off outdoors if they are to get used to being in your garden. The first day or 2 its just a few hours outside, in the shade mostly. The next couple of days in the sunshine for 2-3 hours only and the rest of the day in the shade. After that keep extending time outside in the sunshine so they get used to the wind, the sunshine, the cooler mornings and evenings. After about 7 days, leave them outside overnight, UNLESS you are going to get a frosty night. Bring them inside in that case. After about 10-14 days they can go into your garden. With me its usually in 10 days.

Do you put them back under the lights when you bring them inside?

Bill
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  quiltbea on 5/8/2012, 9:50 pm

@mrwes.....I just put the tray of transplants on the floor in the entryway. No lights for overnight. They'll be out in the sun the next morning.
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still harden if using cloches?

Post  hruten on 5/9/2012, 8:28 am

Hi Quiltbea,

Do I still need to harden if I'm putting everything under cloches or in water tents?

e.g. zucchini, pumpkin, tomato, pepper, cukes, etc.
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  quiltbea on 5/9/2012, 11:37 am

Personally, I would harden everything at least a few days. I want my plants strong and sturdy and they get that way by being out in the weather and a little wind.
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  GWN on 5/9/2012, 12:01 pm

I tend to baby basil, to me it is the wimpiest of all of my plants
I have also found that nasturtiums are pretty wimpy, so am just struggling along with an overfilled greenhouse just waiting for this week to end, and the cold nights,
We have 2 cold nights forecasted this week, then free sailing ????
I have left my greenhouse door open all day for several days and all of my tomato plants that are in buckets are exposed to the direct sun, I wonder if that is really hardening off, or do I really need to get them outside?
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  walshevak on 5/9/2012, 3:11 pm

For what it's worth, I also left my green house doors open for a week as the hardening off period. Sunshine and some pretty strong winds came through the doors. Transplanted tomatos, cukes and peppers directly to the beds and buckets and all are coming along fine. Knock wood. Smile

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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  floyd1440 on 5/9/2012, 8:31 pm

quiltbea wrote:

Make your hole deep enough so that the plant and all its roots are below the soil level by a few inches. You only need the topmost green branches to be above soil level by a couple of inches. Be sure you snap off any branches that will be under the soil so they don't rot.

I will definately plant them deep and take off some lower branches. This weekend I will take them outside for a couple of hours as you suggested and continue to harden them off.

So it is a good thing that my boxes a 1 foot deep as I understand that tomscan root anywere along the stem so the deeper it is the better IMHO.

But I don't understand how SFGs can be only 6 inches deep?

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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  quiltbea on 5/9/2012, 9:09 pm

@floyd.....For boxes that aren't very deep, they lay them on their sides so they start our horizontal with only the upper greens sticking up straight.
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  GWN on 5/10/2012, 10:30 am

yesterday I begrudgingly hauled all of my tomatoes out to harden them off (I had just finished staking them with the cuttings from the grape pruning)
Fortunately I had to take something out to the compost, because a sudden storm had come up and all the plants were being blown over.
Back into the greenhouse for you guys....
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  Goosegirl on 5/10/2012, 11:48 am

Today is day 3 of hardening off, I have to remember to bring them in before we hit our high of 83!

GG
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Re: Tomato & pepper plants - put in now?

Post  floyd1440 on 5/10/2012, 8:15 pm

quiltbea wrote:@floyd.....For boxes that aren't very deep, they lay them on their sides so they start our horizontal with only the upper greens sticking up straight.

I reread Mels book and he mentions laying them down as you also shared. But I have never done this before and want to know how many people lay their toms down?
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