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tomatoes from seed

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tomatoes from seed

Post  Maggiemae5155 on 4/12/2013, 6:55 am

Hi I am new to the gardening and find it very interesting. I am growing several things from seeds and have some questions hoping to find the answers here. I have 8 tomato plants I have grown from seed, and want to know should I put them out during the day while the weather is warm until frost is gone? rock on

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Re: tomatoes from seed

Post  Pollinator on 4/12/2013, 9:21 am

@Maggiemae5155 wrote:Hi I am new to the gardening and find it very interesting. I am growing several things from seeds and have some questions hoping to find the answers here. I have 8 tomato plants I have grown from seed, and want to know should I put them out during the day while the weather is warm until frost is gone? rock on

The main thing to consider is ultraviolet rays from the sun - think of it as the problem with sunburn, if you are fair-skinned. If the plant has not had exposure to UV, then it will need to adapt in bits and pieces. First put them out in the shade for an hour, where UV exposure is minimal. Then next into the sun for an hour; the next day in the sun for two hours, etc.

It's a real shame, but I often hear of new gardeners who put their started plants out without hardening them off, and they are killed by the sunburn.

My plants do not need hardening, because they go into a plastic film greenhouse as soon as they get second leaves. This lets in a moderate amount of UV and plants are already hardened by the time I set them out.

But if you get a greenhouse, be careful, because some plastic films are treated to resist UV light (makes them last longer), and you'll still have to harden these plants off.

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Re: tomatoes from seed

Post  cautery on 4/12/2013, 9:27 am

@Maggiemae5155 wrote:Hi I am new to the gardening and find it very interesting. I am growing several things from seeds and have some questions hoping to find the answers here. I have 8 tomato plants I have grown from seed, and want to know should I put them out during the day while the weather is warm until frost is gone? rock on

I'm pretty new to tomatoes from seed, too.... and I'm sure the more experienced will chime in, but here's my experience and opinion...

It depends on what "warm" is compared to the conditions they experience inside.... My tomatoes have been much more tolerant to temperature swings than many of my other warm weather crops, but...

It certainly helps to harden your seedlings off prior to permanent transplant... Just try to GRADUALLY transition them in terms of sun, temp, and wind with respect to inside vs. outside.

Going from a grow light to full sun and a BIG temp swing may shock them.... same with the wind...

However, going from still to a slight air movement (less than 3 mph) will rapidly encourage the plants to strengthen their structure.

And there is simply no comparison between the light energy between a typical grow light and the "real" sun... My seedlings visibly grew in one afternoon under the sun (mild temps and wind) vs. a full 16 hours under my 240 Watt, 6 T5 bulb grow lights.

So... bottom line... yes, move them outside, BUT shield them from extremes in wind, temp CHANGE, and full sun/hot temps... and/or limit the time frame you leave them out and gradually increase it.

Since I have the luxury of being here at home with them, I put them out and watch them and the conditions to monitor their performance.

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