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stella1751
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I leave mine out for 30 minutes the first day, 1 hour the second, 2 hours the third . . . except when I space them out, and they get 5 hours the third day and sunburn horribly :oops:

After my last fiasco, the plants had to stay in for four days because of snow and cold temps. Today they went out for anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. (I had to up-pot many of the peppers, so the last to be up-potted got 90 minutes. I hope I didn't blow it again!)
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Alicemae
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Seedlings are Fragile!

I have made every mistake posted here by all of you! Now that I've gotten over all the trauma from many years of trial and error, I can share this with you ~

1) I always start my seeds too soon cuz I just can't stand to wait, but they always manage to make it to the gardens.
2) I do believe in seed starter mix in the beginning but when up-planting I also just use a fairly good potting mix.
3) This year I bought a little bitty greenhouse and have it inside, in front of my patio door in the (still gentle) south sun. No lights, no heat pads.
4) My opinion of keeping the plant stems strong is that you do need a small fan blowing on them for about an hour every other day or so.

My squash plants have been up-planted twice and are blooming inside! Fun and funny but not good as I have a few weeks yet before I can put them outside in the garden. They're scaring my husband - he thinks I'm nuts! I suppose the melons and pumpkins will be next. Tomatoes look great, peppers ok but always last to catch up. Anyway, that's my story...

JLudin
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Well, just got home after heading out to town after I made my last post. I still had the heater on in the rec room after I had brought them all inside and almost EVERY plant has already made a full recovery under the plant lights! That's a relief. It's great to learn all of this. I think I may knock it back a few pegs to 1/2 hour for the next few days after I get off work.

SPierce, I actually put them out on a patio table on the deck that had filtered sunshine through two large trees overhanging them. So it wasn't fully direct, but they still had sun. The last 20 minutes or so though some of them actually had direct sunlight as the sun slid past to the west a tad more. But, like I said, I must have pulled them in at just the right time as they are almost all making a full recovery.

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stella1751
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Re: Seedlings are Fragile!

Alicemae wrote: I always start my seeds too soon cuz I just can't stand to wait, but they always manage to make it to the gardens.
I was just telling myself this yesterday! Well, the part about always starting my seeds too soon, that is. They do always manage to make ti the gardens, too, but not without me spending hours up-potting them.

I keep thinking I can set them out if I could just see a stretch ahead without temps in the 20's. However, every time I get close to a possible planting day, another frigid day lurks at the very end of the 10-day forecast.

Our average last frost is supposedly May 22. June 1 is the smart day to plant, though. My peppers will be fruiting by then! (And the cucurbits will be dead.)
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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SPierce
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Well, tonight I came home and took a look at my seedlings-- and came to the realization that there's NO way that the Zucchinis can wait any longer to go outside. They're just too big-- on their 3rd/4th set of true leaves.

So we're starting the hardening off process by moving them into the basement, where it's about 54 degrees, usually. No more comfy window. They've got to go outside! I almost want to take them out since it's humid tonight, but it's 45 out and i feel it's too cold/too big of a jump for them.

Everything from here on out, is all about fate. I tried to start peppers and lima beans inside, and nothing germinated but one very determined bell pepper which I'm going to mother the hell out of and give it all the help/care that I can. I ran outside tonight, dug a few shallow holes in the garden and dumped some Yellow Banana pepper seeds and lima bean seeds into them.

Whether or not i have banana peppers, and lima beans this year-- is, well, up to fate now. I guess i'll have to accept it either way! :D

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stella1751
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SPierce wrote:Well, tonight I came home and took a look at my seedlings-- and came to the realization that there's NO way that the Zucchinis can wait any longer to go outside. They're just too big-- on their 3rd/4th set of true leaves.

So we're starting the hardening off process by moving them into the basement, where it's about 54 degrees, usually. No more comfy window. They've got to go outside! I almost want to take them out since it's humid tonight, but it's 45 out and i feel it's too cold/too big of a jump for them.

Everything from here on out, is all about fate. I tried to start peppers and lima beans inside, and nothing germinated but one very determined bell pepper which I'm going to mother the hell out of and give it all the help/care that I can. I ran outside tonight, dug a few shallow holes in the garden and dumped some Yellow Banana pepper seeds and lima bean seeds into them.

Whether or not i have banana peppers, and lima beans this year-- is, well, up to fate now. I guess i'll have to accept it either way! :D
My pumpkins sound exactly like your zukes. Mine had really long stems, though, and I was pretty sure one of them wouldn't make it through the night. I planted them earlier today. I just checked on them, and they all look fine. However, like you said, it's all up to the fates. One of our famous and wildly unpredictable cold spells will take 'em all out.

I'm all set to begin the daily covering and uncovering that signals both the beginning and the end of the garden season. Wouldn't it be great if they survived?
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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SPierce
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stella1751 wrote:
SPierce wrote:Well, tonight I came home and took a look at my seedlings-- and came to the realization that there's NO way that the Zucchinis can wait any longer to go outside. They're just too big-- on their 3rd/4th set of true leaves.

So we're starting the hardening off process by moving them into the basement, where it's about 54 degrees, usually. No more comfy window. They've got to go outside! I almost want to take them out since it's humid tonight, but it's 45 out and i feel it's too cold/too big of a jump for them.

Everything from here on out, is all about fate. I tried to start peppers and lima beans inside, and nothing germinated but one very determined bell pepper which I'm going to mother the hell out of and give it all the help/care that I can. I ran outside tonight, dug a few shallow holes in the garden and dumped some Yellow Banana pepper seeds and lima bean seeds into them.

Whether or not i have banana peppers, and lima beans this year-- is, well, up to fate now. I guess i'll have to accept it either way! :D
My pumpkins sound exactly like your zukes. Mine had really long stems, though, and I was pretty sure one of them wouldn't make it through the night. I planted them earlier today. I just checked on them, and they all look fine. However, like you said, it's all up to the fates. One of our famous and wildly unpredictable cold spells will take 'em all out.

I'm all set to begin the daily covering and uncovering that signals both the beginning and the end of the garden season. Wouldn't it be great if they survived?
I hope your seedlings make it through ok! i had mine outside for an hour in the colder/higher wind day today. will see what they look like in the am and start leaving them out from there/ its 2 weeks before i should plant anything in ground yet--- but they're getting so big!

I will admit: I'm so attached to them right now- that if any of them die I'm going to cry. Its like taking care of a baby!

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SPierce
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I've got another question along the same topic, so i figured I'd hijack one i've already started :D

Anyway, my seedlings have been sufficently hardened off where I can keep them out all day, and all night. They droop a little, but always perk right back up in the morning!

I'd like to plant them out tomorrow afternoon- it's supposed to be nice and sunny!

However, it's supposed to rain on sunday :( Is it OK to put my seedlings out then have them get rained on, since they haven't experienced water on their leaves before, or will they be eternally traumatized?

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stella1751
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I've put mine out in the rain with no problem. I figure that's better than setting them out immediately after a rain, when the soil's all wet. If it's a hard rain, though, with the possibility of hail, I cover them with a pot through the worst of it.

Most of my seedlings, which were started way too soon, I now know, are desperate to go outside. Like you, I am watching the weather, waiting for just the right day. Unfortunately, we keep getting a three-day stretch of cold, rain, or wind when they can't go outside at all, so I have to keep starting all over with my hardening off.

Yesterday was another Day 1. I can have them ready in three days. However, in three days the forecast says WINDY in all capital letters. Up here, that generally means 25 to 40 MPH gusts. Two tomato plants and all of the watermelon plants will have to go out tomorrow to be ready for that. I think if I plant them in the afternoon, I might make it.

If I wait any longer, the watermelons will die, and I'll have to use a backhoe to plant the tomatoes :shock:
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SPierce
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stella1751 wrote:I've put mine out in the rain with no problem. I figure that's better than setting them out immediately after a rain, when the soil's all wet. If it's a hard rain, though, with the possibility of hail, I cover them with a pot through the worst of it.

Most of my seedlings, which were started way too soon, I now know, are desperate to go outside. Like you, I am watching the weather, waiting for just the right day. Unfortunately, we keep getting a three-day stretch of cold, rain, or wind when they can't go outside at all, so I have to keep starting all over with my hardening off.

Yesterday was another Day 1. I can have them ready in three days. However, in three days the forecast says WINDY in all capital letters. Up here, that generally means 25 to 40 MPH gusts. Two tomato plants and all of the watermelon plants will have to go out tomorrow to be ready for that. I think if I plant them in the afternoon, I might make it.

If I wait any longer, the watermelons will die, and I'll have to use a backhoe to plant the tomatoes :shock:
I'm so glad to hear I'm not alone! The nights are ending up in the 48-50's, and the days are up into the 75s.

I'm not having as many problems with the hardening off itself- i am at the point where I leave them outside all day, and until about 11pm at night, then i have to bring them in because the temps are going to drop below 40. The sunlight and the wind doesn't even really affect them anymore, which is really nice! BUT... the point is to get them in the ground. I usually try to plant my starter plants that i've bought, right before a rain storm because the rain water is usually better for the plants than tap water is!

My Zucchinis are starting to put out little flower blooms, and are getting oh-so-big and they NEED to go outside! (see horrible web cam pic). Mini question, though- can I plan the zucchinis up to the seed leaves when i plant them in the ground, or should I avoid doing so?
[img]http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c25/Liskarialeman/Photo107.jpg[/img]
[img]http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c25/Liskarialeman/Photo106.jpg[/img]

The tomatoes are a bit smaller, and I think i can wait until I get back from vacation, but they're on their 4th set of true leaves. (see other horrible web cam pic)

[img]http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c25/Liskarialeman/Photo108.jpg[/img]
[img]http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c25/Liskarialeman/Photo109.jpg[/img]

We're due for rain for the next 7 days. I don't want to put them out and hurt them, but they need to go into the ground! I don't think we;re due for any hail, but most times the rain here gets pretty hard- we get major downpours, then it slows down again, and so on. My seedlings have never experienced rain/wetness on their leaves before (I water on the stem, not on the leaves, so I'm unsure as to how they'd react to a major rain like that!

I really hope you can get your seedlings out without loosing them !

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If the rain starts to come down hard, run out and put a pot over them. I did that with my pumpkins last year, and they survived the first few days of being set out. Once the rain slackened off (there were tiny hailstones mixed in), I went back out and removed the pot.

I almost lost my Super Chilies today. Because it was overcast and only slightly windy, I put everyone out for four hours today. The tomatoes were on the ground, the big peppers on a stack of boards, and the Super Chilies on the sidewalk.

When I brought them back in, the Super Chilies had begun to freeze. Honest. Many of the leaves were crinkled and starting to twist sideways. Within five minutes of coming in the house, all of them were drooping. They recovered after about 8 hours, but they were just that close to having died.

It was 41 when I put them out, and the high supposedly got to 47. All I can think is that, because we froze the night before, the sidewalk was still frozen when I put the plants out. I cannot win this year with my seedlings. I think I have made every mistake known to gardenerkind :roll:
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SPierce
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stella1751 wrote:If the rain starts to come down hard, run out and put a pot over them. I did that with my pumpkins last year, and they survived the first few days of being set out. Once the rain slackened off (there were tiny hailstones mixed in), I went back out and removed the pot.

I almost lost my Super Chilies today. Because it was overcast and only slightly windy, I put everyone out for four hours today. The tomatoes were on the ground, the big peppers on a stack of boards, and the Super Chilies on the sidewalk.

When I brought them back in, the Super Chilies had begun to freeze. Honest. Many of the leaves were crinkled and starting to twist sideways. Within five minutes of coming in the house, all of them were drooping. They recovered after about 8 hours, but they were just that close to having died.

It was 41 when I put them out, and the high supposedly got to 47. All I can think is that, because we froze the night before, the sidewalk was still frozen when I put the plants out. I cannot win this year with my seedlings. I think I have made every mistake known to gardenerkind :roll:
*hugs* Hang in there. I got everything in the ground yesterday- and they made it through their first night all healthy looking, but I hope you can get yours to get along okay! Can you plant the chillies in a greenhouse, maybe, outside until it's warm enough to get them out there? or a cold frame? Or maybe keep them closer to the house! Actually, the ability to do that has saved my butt many times, the place where my garden is/where it gets the most sun, is right next to the house- so it's got the house on one side, and the porch on the other. Gives it a mini sheltered place and enough sun to be okay!

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I have way too many to be so easy. I do bring them out in the shade though. They may get afternoon sun if left out long enough. I don't do the 30 min, hour, 2 hour thing though. But I do keep them out of the sun at first.

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Rain can be a great time to plant. Means overcast and not burning up in the sun and nice moist soil. What you don't want is high winds, hail, or extreme hard downpour. If any of that comes along, then cover your newly planted stuff.
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stella1751
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gixxerific wrote:I have way too many to be so easy. I do bring them out in the shade though. They may get afternoon sun if left out long enough. I don't do the 30 min, hour, 2 hour thing though. But I do keep them out of the sun at first.
I have to do it incrementally because, no matter where I put them outside, they will get the wind. Last year, one of my tomato seedlings snapped off level with the soil because of the wind. Perfectly calm days up here are, literally, one in a 1000 :D

Right now, the day looks good to get them out again. Lots of sun, temp of 46, and a wind of perhaps 10 to 15. I'm gonna try four hours today!
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SPierce
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stella1751 wrote:
gixxerific wrote:I have way too many to be so easy. I do bring them out in the shade though. They may get afternoon sun if left out long enough. I don't do the 30 min, hour, 2 hour thing though. But I do keep them out of the sun at first.
I have to do it incrementally because, no matter where I put them outside, they will get the wind. Last year, one of my tomato seedlings snapped off level with the soil because of the wind. Perfectly calm days up here are, literally, one in a 1000 :D

Right now, the day looks good to get them out again. Lots of sun, temp of 46, and a wind of perhaps 10 to 15. I'm gonna try four hours today!
how goes your plants? :D

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stella1751
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Today I plant the two excessively tall tomato plants and the seven watermelons. I had them out for 3.5 hours yesterday in some pretty nasty winds. I meant to have them out for 4 hours, but I broke at 3.5. They all looked pretty rough. This is the day that is supposed to be super windy, but I'm not seeing it, not yet, anyway. I think it must have come early.

In my heart, I know the watermelons won't make it. All the literature says they hate being transplanted, and I didn't even use peat pots. Can't never did try, though. I prepared them SUCH a bed yesterday that if they do make it, they will be living the dream.

Here's a funny one: I forgot to cover the pumpkins last night, and we got down to 31 at the airport. Thank heavens for variable temperatures. The two that are left are still alive. Decidedly unhappy but nevertheless alive. I've been reading Jon's pumpkin seeds thread, and I think I will start two more for Halloween pumpkins if I can find a place to put them.

BTW, your tomato plant looks ever so much better than mine. I had to put mine in the window, and they're leggy as all get out. I had to stake them yesterday, or they would have broken off in their pots. They will be much happier outside, no matter how windy it gets.

Thursday the high is supposed to be 49. They keep downgrading the high as I watch the 10-day forecast. Five days ago, Thursday was supposed to hit 55. Two days ago, Thursday was supposed to hit 51. Now it's down to 49. Something ugly is coming through here on Thursday :shock:
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SPierce
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stella1751 wrote:Today I plant the two excessively tall tomato plants and the seven watermelons. I had them out for 3.5 hours yesterday in some pretty nasty winds. I meant to have them out for 4 hours, but I broke at 3.5. They all looked pretty rough. This is the day that is supposed to be super windy, but I'm not seeing it, not yet, anyway. I think it must have come early.

In my heart, I know the watermelons won't make it. All the literature says they hate being transplanted, and I didn't even use peat pots. Can't never did try, though. I prepared them SUCH a bed yesterday that if they do make it, they will be living the dream.

Here's a funny one: I forgot to cover the pumpkins last night, and we got down to 31 at the airport. Thank heavens for variable temperatures. The two that are left are still alive. Decidedly unhappy but nevertheless alive. I've been reading Jon's pumpkin seeds thread, and I think I will start two more for Halloween pumpkins if I can find a place to put them.

BTW, your tomato plant looks ever so much better than mine. I had to put mine in the window, and they're leggy as all get out. I had to stake them yesterday, or they would have broken off in their pots. They will be much happier outside, no matter how windy it gets.

Thursday the high is supposed to be 49. They keep downgrading the high as I watch the 10-day forecast. Five days ago, Thursday was supposed to hit 55. Two days ago, Thursday was supposed to hit 51. Now it's down to 49. Something ugly is coming through here on Thursday :shock:
Oh goodness, I hope everything is ok! Sadly, i'll be joining you for that horrible upcoming weather on thursday-I'm in the area from thursday through memorial day! :shock:

and thanks re: the tomato plant. I planted them out and saturday in the ground, and already they're getting bigger! I can't wait to see what they look like when I get back into town.

I hope your watermelons make it through ok. I tried to grow them this year., and had no success at all- so you're ahead of me. Can you maybe put a protective fence of some sort around them, until they can grow stronger? Hopefully they will all come up and turn out well! I haven't even been able to plant my pumpkins and gourds yet, they're still emerging from their pots...

I sure hope your plants are getting stronger so they can survive all the winds and temps!

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stella1751
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SPierce wrote: Oh goodness, I hope everything is ok! Sadly, i'll be joining you for that horrible upcoming weather on thursday-I'm in the area from thursday through memorial day! :shock:
Oh no. I forgot you were headed this way. Poor SPierce. I can't speak for Yellowstone, but our mid-state forecast is for several days of rain after the ugly Thursday of which I spoke, very unusual for my area. Remember what I told you: prepare to drive in snow. You may not have to, but odds are high you will if you are in the mountains.

I hope you found a responsible person to visit your plants while you are gone.
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SPierce
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stella1751 wrote:
SPierce wrote: Oh goodness, I hope everything is ok! Sadly, i'll be joining you for that horrible upcoming weather on thursday-I'm in the area from thursday through memorial day! :shock:
Oh no. I forgot you were headed this way. Poor SPierce. I can't speak for Yellowstone, but our mid-state forecast is for several days of rain after the ugly Thursday of which I spoke, very unusual for my area. Remember what I told you: prepare to drive in snow. You may not have to, but odds are high you will if you are in the mountains.

I hope you found a responsible person to visit your plants while you are gone.
My roommate will take good care of my garden while I'm gone. He knows how much they mean to me! :D

And that's OK. I can take rain and snow- in fact, I prefer snow. It looks so beautiful on the ground, mountains and animals when I'm photographing them! I even got my sweaters back out of the closer so I can bring them. I'm there from the 19th-28th- hopefully i'll get a bit of sun in there- but i hope so for your plants!

and have no fear, I'm used to snow ;D

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stella1751
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Sorry to digress on your thread, SPierce, but you may be in for a real treat. Montana's cattlemen are fed up with bison, which can transmit a bad disease to pregnant cattle. Last week, I saw a news report saying they were moving their bison to the Wyoming Yellowstone area. If you like photographing animals, you might see an errant bison or two. (They can be devilishly difficult to herd.) 8)

So. You get snow in Massachusettes, too, huh? Go figure :wink:
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SPierce
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stella1751 wrote:Sorry to digress on your thread, SPierce, but you may be in for a real treat. Montana's cattlemen are fed up with bison, which can transmit a bad disease to pregnant cattle. Last week, I saw a news report saying they were moving their bison to the Wyoming Yellowstone area. If you like photographing animals, you might see an errant bison or two. (They can be devilishly difficult to herd.) 8)

So. You get snow in Massachusettes, too, huh? Go figure :wink:
Digress all you want- I'm sending positive thoughts towards your watermelons! I hope you get some, cause I sure won't this year! ;x

And Ohhhh. I like the idea of errant Bison. I take ALL sorts of wildlife photos, too. It's the best thing to take pics of :D

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It's day 2 for the watermelons, and all but one look happy and perky. I just mulched them with grass clippings, yet another no-no for watermelons if the soil hasn't warmed up yet. However, we have some serious T-storms moving into the area. Last year, I lost all but one watermelon to mud-splash and waterboarding. The poor guys got so sick and tired of being drowned and resuscitated and drowned and resuscitated that they just gave up the fight. This year, I have them in a bed I can cover with a blue tarp if too much rain comes down.

The two tomato plants, also freshly mulched, look chipper and optimistic. It took me over 10 minutes to dig holes for these two leggy giants. Never again. Setting out plants should be a pleasure, not a chore.

Next in line: Foot-tall peppers. Their bed is not ready, and I don't think I will have time to prepare it before the mess hits. Four days of cold and rain. Peppers are generally pretty forgiving, though. The tallest ones are starting to look unhappy. I might have to get out there today to plant them, just in time for all H--- to break loose :cry:
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stella1751
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The state of Wyoming, all counties, just went under a winter storm advisory for Thursday and Friday, with anywhere from 3" to a foot of snow forecast. Am I still living in 2010? This has the ugly feel of repetition. Poor, poor watermelons, tomatoes, and pumpkins.
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SPierce
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stella1751 wrote:The state of Wyoming, all counties, just went under a winter storm advisory for Thursday and Friday, with anywhere from 3" to a foot of snow forecast. Am I still living in 2010? This has the ugly feel of repetition. Poor, poor watermelons, tomatoes, and pumpkins.
Oh goodness, I hope i can get my flight in ok! :lol:

I hope your plants make it through ok :shock:

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Good luck to both of you. :wink:

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