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I finally bought a 4-foot shop light for starting my tomatoes and peppers indoors because I was tired of leggy seedlings. After reading the thread about starting seeds in vermiculite and the possibility of taking them from the vermiculite and putting them directly in the garden, I wondered if it's possible (or advisable) to put my shop light on my back porch instead of inside the house or garage. We live in Central Florida (last frost date Feb. 25) and temps are projected for the next couple of weeks at least to be in the 50's at night and mid-to-high 70's during the day. Can I set up my seedlings and shop light on the screened-in porch? I'm thinking maybe it would help with the whole hardening-off process, since one of the comments in the vermiculite seed starting thread was that perhaps seedlings don't know about hardening off if they aren't "pampered" at the start?
Hi Janezee, I'll let you know what happens. I don't really have room either. I was thinking of placing the light over the bathtub and raising the plants up to it, but I don't have an outlet nearby - I'd have to go behind the sinks with an extension cord and I don't think that's quite safe. I have several containers of vermiculite on top of my fridge. It's day 5 after planting, and not a hint of a sprout! I think I would have done better to just put them in soil.....
For now, I put onions and leeks and parsley in pots, and then put that flat under a cloche over my 4x4. It was 55* when I planted on the 8th, and it's snowing and 32* today.
I knew I could bring on winter all by myself!!!!
I knew I could bring on winter all by myself!!!!
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I think your idea of hardening them off as they grow makes sense. I am doing the same thing with tomatoes here. I put them out in the sun during the day and bring them into my room at night. As it warms up I will leave them outside and when planting time comes just stick them in a square.
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@ksbmom wrote:It's day 5 after planting, and not a hint of a sprout! I think I would have done better to just put them in soil.....
I think your days to germination expectations are a bit high.
Peppers and tomatoes usually take 6 days to sprout at 77* - 86*
At 68* peppers take 13 days and tomatoes take 8 days.
Perhaps they just need a couple of more days.
I had much better germination rates using vermiculite than I had when using Jiffy Pellets to start seeds.
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Well, maybe I'm just too impatient! Last year when I did seeds in Miracle Gro, they sprouted really quickly (3-4 days). But then they were pretty weak because I didn't use a light. I'll give it more time and see what happens (more time to set up my grow station anyway).
Guess I'll have to eat my words! Just checked on my seeds again and, lo and behold, my Homestead 24 tomatoes are sprouting in the vermiculite! Woo Hoo! It's warming up here after a cold snap and I can't wait to start getting things in the garden.
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