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SoCal tomato advice

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SoCal tomato advice

Post  Coelli on 2/21/2013, 12:04 am

This is only my second year gardening and I was so eager to get started that I started my tomatoes too early! I didn't think they would grow so quickly, but I've been watering them with worm tea from fresh worm castings and fertilizing with dilute fish emulsion and not only are they thriving, one of the German Johnsons is actually setting fruit already and a few others are flowering (Cherokee Purple, Hartsman's Gooseberry). They've been under a 4' ballast with 4 T8 daylight bulbs and apparently it's enough light as they're nice and stocky too.

As the rest of you who live here know we just had a cold snap, so it's a good thing they hadn't been put outside yet. But they are getting much too big to keep living under the lights and everyone's getting crowded together as I start other things I plan to grow. I'm going to give a few of the tomato plants away shortly but I need to get these other guys out of the house because they are just getting way too tall. My grow light is at a 30 degree slant trying to accommodate the different heights of everything, with some things set on plastic boxes to get them closer to the lights, etc.

Our last frost should be over, but I don't know how soon after a last frost they can be planted outside (in 5gallon buckets). How soon do you think they can go out? Here's our 10-day forecast - it will probably just keep getting warmer from here on out. Any advice would be appreciated. I would LOVE to even get them out this weekend, but that one 39-degree night next week has me worried.

https://www.google.com/search?q=tujunga+weather

Thanks!
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Coelli

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Re: SoCal tomato advice

Post  Lindacol on 2/21/2013, 1:00 am

You are way ahead of me - mine are only about 3" tall. You do need to harden them off before planting them outside. Start by taking them outside in a protected area during the day and bring them in (but not under the lights) at night for a few days. . When you plant them outside you may need to cover them at night for protection for a few days.
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Re: SoCal tomato advice

Post  Coelli on 2/21/2013, 1:21 pm

Thanks Linda. Smile Once this cold snap is over I'll start hardening them off and get them ready to go out. And next year I start them a few weeks later!
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