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MikeFIT
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Seedlings too tall and leggy plant a week early in garden?

My seeds shot up ridiculously fast this year. The plants are getting too tall for their pots. A few are a little leggy and bending a bit. I really shouldn't plant for another week. I think maybe I should put them in early so I can get them in deep too support more root growth and stronger plants. There's a chance that a few days next week may dip to 38-41 degrees overnight and then probably fine weather after that...

Would you agree that it's probably best to get them out into the ground now? They are about 10-12 inches tall.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Seedlings too tall and leggy plant a week early in garde

These are currently indoors? Then what you need to do ASAP is get them out and start hardening them off. You can't just bring them from inside and plop them in the ground, they need some gradual exposure to sun, wind, cool, etc. While they are still in pots getting some gradually increasing amounts of sun, you can bring them back in for the night if it is too cool-- anything in the 30's is probably too cool, especially before they are well hardened. It should take 7-10 days to get them well hardened, by which time they can be sitting in pots in the spot they will go. Then you can plant them, being sure to plant them deeper in the ground than they are in the pot.
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applestar
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Re: Seedlings too tall and leggy plant a week early in garde

Are you supporting them at all?
Use thin bamboo canes, bamboo skewers, straight shrub and tree trimmings (upside sown if fresh cut to prevent rooting). They will need the support when they go outside to harden or a little breeze will knock them over.

If in doubt, you can also deep uppot to Large and Double-gulp cups, cut off 1/2 gal milk, etc. beverage cartons, 2L and 3L soda bottles, etc. -- WITH DRAINAGE HOLES OF COURSE. Drop them in the bottom and fill with fresh potting mix to the top, burying the stem.

You can also make DRAINAGE SLITS with utility knife/box cutter as described here:
:arrow: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 13#p296913
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Re: Seedlings too tall and leggy plant a week early in garde

Yeah, second vote for repotting and then start hardening them off. If they've already been hardened, and your fairly sure your low will be in the high 30s, they could go in the ground. My experience is if they're hardened they can tolerate anything but freezing with no ill effects.

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gixxerific
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Re: Seedlings too tall and leggy plant a week early in garde

rainbowgardener wrote:These are currently indoors? Then what you need to do ASAP is get them out and start hardening them off. You can't just bring them from inside and plop them in the ground, they need some gradual exposure to sun, wind, cool, etc. While they are still in pots getting some gradually increasing amounts of sun, you can bring them back in for the night if it is too cool-- anything in the 30's is probably too cool, especially before they are well hardened. It should take 7-10 days to get them well hardened, by which time they can be sitting in pots in the spot they will go. Then you can plant them, being sure to plant them deeper in the ground than they are in the pot.
There you go just as RBG said, problem solved. You need a week she just gave you a week. And I highly suggest hardening off. I try every year with a few straight out in the open and they always get burnt.

Sounds like it's too late to talk about lights and all that hoo haa. Support the ones that need it with anything available and get them in and out. They will get stronger soon enough. Plant deep, REAL deep. Some people say they use this to their advantage, big lanky palnts giving them more stem thus more roots.

Good luck, keep us updated.

Dono

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MikeFIT
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Re: Seedlings too tall and leggy plant a week early in garde

Thanks everyone. Great ideas. I was so sick this weekend (and drugged out on antibiotics) and even though I planned to up-pot as suggested, I copped out and threw everything in the garden. I didn't harden off either. I know I am a glutton for punishment, but we will see what happens. I buried them super deep and the first few days here of their outdoor life will be 70 degree weather with fifties over night. There is a good chance that we could see a few 40 degree nights in the next week, but I am optimistic. I'll update in a week or two in case anyone is interested...Thanks again
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gixxerific
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Re: Seedlings too tall and leggy plant a week early in garde

Glad you are feeling better. Good luck out in the garden. You sound like me impulsive, and do or die. I am getting into the same boat as you. We have a couple days of freezing here. If I can get my dwarfs out in pots soon than all will be much better. But yes space in the incubator is at a premium right now.

Again good luck.

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MikeFIT
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Re: Seedlings too tall and leggy plant a week early in garde

Well it looks like the impulsiveness my burn me this year. Tonight is supposed to get down to almost 32 degrees. I'm gonna try covering them with black plastic sheeting tonight and hope for the best. If I can get them through the next two nights, they should be fine. If I hadn't been sick, I probably would have left half the plants inside for another week, but oh well..
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JayPoc
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Re: Seedlings too tall and leggy plant a week early in garde

Even better than the plastic, you can simply cover them with any upturned flower pot, bucket, milk jug, etc. If it's REALLY cold, you can even then cover their cover with mulch, or better yet compost.

All my maters are still mobile, but its going to get as low as 24 here tonight, and I have peas, lettuce, and cole crops all in the ground. I'll probably cover all the lettuces and let everything else fend for itself...

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MikeFIT
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Re: Seedlings too tall and leggy plant a week early in garde

Well it may have caught up to me. Last year I did this and all of my plants ended up being fine.
We haven't had freezing temps yet, but I live on a 100ft cliff above the Chesapeake Bay and the winds last night were crazy. A lot of the plants look a bit spindly and beat up. A couple plants even have some "wilted" leaves. I pinched the leaves, but am putting those plants in the category of "I don't think they will make it." Tonight and tomorrow night are cold nights, so whatever makes it through till Thursday I will put in the category, "Maybe they will rebound and be productive." I'm bummed because I have so many different varieties and I am hoping I will not have to loose started plants and replace them with store bought generics. I should have just waited a week and paid more attention to my seedlings earlier.

Most of the plants I covered with buckets. For a few, I caged them and wrapped plastic wrap around the cages sealing them in. Fingers crossed. I really could lose all of them :(
Live in DC - Garden in Southern MD/Chesapeake Bay

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