Green Thumb
Posts: 352
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 2:53 pm
Location: Brunswick, Maine

I've finally run out of room!!!


I'm out of room in basement under the lights...

With days in the low 60s to high 50s and nights in the 40s I can't put my tomatoes and ground cherries in the ground yet but they have totally taken over the grow lights.

I'm already putting my peppers outside during the day and bringing them in at night. Now, my squash and cukes are sprouting(after only 4 days!!) and they need the light... What to do?

1. Buy more shoplights
2. Put tomatoes outside during the day (slowly hardening them off)
3. Harden the off then build cold frame
4. I dunno?

Whatcha think?

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Posts: 30583
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

Tomatoes can take the temps you describe better than the peppers IMHO. Definitely anything in the 50's. Peppers are better off in 60's and above though they can manage 50's at night. Temp in sunlight is higher too -- try taking a reading with thermometer in the sun.

also, I think #3 is backwards -- that should read "build cold frame AND harden off". That's what a cold frame is for.

I leave my tomatoes and ground cherries outside in the 40's but put them inside a large translucent storage tub when forecast is for mid-upper 40's (my garden will be low-mid40's). As soon as the sun sets but it's still light out, I put them all in the tub and shut the lid until next morning just as the direct sunlight reaches the tub.

Biggest of my eggplants are out there too, but only because they won't fit under the lights. I planted them too early one year and they folded up their leaves and sulked. They were so set back by the early chilling that they never grew very well tha year. They are sheltered in the tub as necessary.

My peppers are still inside because I think they'll have to come inside at night and There are too many of them to manage.

I planted the Atlantic Giant pumpkins because there was no room to keep them inside. I've been covering them at night as necessary.

Green Thumb
Posts: 352
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 2:53 pm
Location: Brunswick, Maine

That's a great idea of using a plastic tub... does it really stay warmer?

also, with the peppers, I bring in 12 every night!!!

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2437
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:31 pm
Location: Latrobe Pa.

Its time to add a small greenhouse to the side of your home so you can use some heat from the home at night to maintain only a 50 dgree temp at night.! The other thing you can do is make a water storage solar green house with a small suplaiment heat sorce! Plastic and 2 by 4s are cheap!

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Greener Thumb
Posts: 1494
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:40 am
Location: Wyoming

When I run out of room or the plants get too big, I start planting, setting out the biggest ones first. Even though tomatoes and peppers won't like the cool temperatures, I think they're better off getting real sunlight. I either use Walls of Water on them, or I cover them at night when necessary. They'll do some growing, and they don't take up precious space inside.

So far, I've planted my pumpkins. Sometime this week, soon, I need to get at least three peppers planted, maybe some watermelons, too. My average last frost date is May 22, so each day brings me a little closer to safey. We're still getting some 30's at night, but by June 1, that should be a thing of the past.

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Yeah, start planting... My tomatoes went through a lot worse weather than that. Now that the warm up is finally here, they are starting to thrive!

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2097
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:27 pm
Location: Mid Ohio

Tomorrow I'm off to get some plastic sheeting to make a tent/enclosure for the back patio. I have twelve flats of seedlings (and more to come) that get shuffled in and out based more on wind and rain than temperature. The brick and concrete of the house and patio protect the area from frost. I should have done this three years ago rather than covering the floor under the dining room table with plants every night.

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Greener Thumb
Posts: 1855
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:40 pm
Location: N. California

don't forget to harden them off first, then you can put them out.

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3938
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:10 pm
Location: ID/WA! border

I'm having some of the same trouble, Ruggr. There are no indoor growing lights but the greenhouse didn't even have walking room a few days ago. Moving the cool-season plants out to harden off and now, out into the garden - has helped.

We haven't had a 70°F day. (Yes, I know I was just complaining about not having a 60° day! :wink: ) Frost can certainly happen anytime here during the month of May.

I have long had an unheated plastic tunnel (9' by 20') to take the overflow from the greenhouse. I also have several hoopies out on the lawn. The tunnel has 2 beds growing bok choy and such so additional plants can only sit across the center aisle at which point - there's no walking room in there :roll: !

Both the tunnel and the hoopies are the simplest things: just plastic film stretched over pvc pipe fitted over short pieces of rebar driven into the ground. On the hoopies, the plastic is gathered and tied to stakes at both ends.

The hoopies are held down along the sides by boards and I can roll the plastic up on a board during the daytime for ventilation and exposure to the sun.


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