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Minimum timeframe to acclimate seedlings

Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 7:08 pm
by SLC
I just started bringing my seedlings outdoors today as it hasn't really warmed up enough until now to do so. Due to personal time contraints, I really need to get all my plants into the ground within the next week and a half, but I don't really have days to spend transplanting. Therefore, I would like to get what I can in the ground this weekend. That would only be 4-5 days of being acclimated to the outdoors.

Is it safe to plant anything in that short a timeframe? My focus this weekend would be to try to get all my marigolds, lettuce, onions and broccoli transplanted. Do you think they will survive?

And my seedlings aren't that big either cuz I got a late start. The broccoli is a few inches high and has about 3 sets of leaves, but 2 or 3 are stunted and are only about an inch high with only 2 sets of leaves. My onions are about 6-8 inches high. I only have 8 lettuce plants and some are pretty big, but some are still small - maybe 2 inches, but all have 2-3 sets of leaves. Most of the marigolds are a pretty good size, but a few are small, but all have at least 2-3 sets of leaves, most have much, more though and some are almost blooming.

Then throughout next week I have basil, cilantro, celery to plant, and then I can wait until next weekend to plant my tomatoes and peppers. Then, of course, I need to direct plant stuff as well.

Any suggestions will help!

Re: Minimum timeframe to acclimate seedlings

Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 7:20 pm
by hendi_alex
It should take about a week but I like to give mine closer to 10 days. The main problem is usually sun scald from too much direct sunlight. After your 4-5 days, when you put the plants in the garden, perhaps put up some kind of shield to protect them from the late afternoon sun. The plants can actually be hardened off right in the garden with creative use of light filtering fabric or other barriers that protect them from sun, hard wind, and hard rain. Five days in itself may be adequate, but it wouldn't be much trouble to provide a little extra transition time by being creative at the planting site.

Re: Minimum timeframe to acclimate seedlings

Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 8:16 pm
by applestar
I was going to say the same thing -- that you can provide sun/wind protection "in the field"

Another consideration that you may need to be prepared for is that small seedlings are more vulnerable to slugs, etc. because it only takes a few mouthfuls to devour them.

If there are unexpected dips in the temp, you may need to provide protection for the cold/frost as well. It usually takes a lot longer for the weather to settle down to planting in the ground weather from when it's warm enough to set them out for the day and some nights.

Re: Minimum timeframe to acclimate seedlings

Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 8:34 pm
by SLC
I did see slugs on my broccoli last year. Maybe I can repot the bigger broccoli and plant later when I have time, but that might not be for a month.

Do you think the lettuce, onions and marigolds at least will be safe? I NEED to get the lettuce out there or else it will bolt like it did last year. :(

Next year I will start my seeds sooner!

Re: Minimum timeframe to acclimate seedlings

Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 9:17 pm
by hendi_alex
If spring/summer weather is coming on anywhere near the way it is here, then cool weather crops need to be in the ground. Here in S.C., we just have a window of about two months when it is warm enough for cool weather crops to grow, but is cool enough for them not to bolt. The garden has been giving salad greens for about two weeks, but only within the past few days are we able to harvest every day if we wish. With luck the salad greens will produce another month. But the arugula is already bolting, so will plant another crop this week, to keep it producing through the summer.