estorms
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Tomatoes and peppers

From the time they sprout, how long does it take tomatoes and peppers to get their first set of leaves? My husband works in Baltimore and our home is in PA. I will be leaving to go up there on March 16th. I have two seed starting trays. I would like them to be ready to transplant when I leave. They should be easy to move if they are still in the trays. I bought a light I can install under the cupboard above the stove. My plan is to keep them under the light at night when I am not using the stove and move them to the table in front of the window during the day when I need my stove to cook. (very small kitchen)

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rainbowgardener
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Sorry, I don't think you started soon enough to have transplant ready plants for Mar 16, which is about three weeks from now.

Peppers take about a week to germinate with bottom heat, longer without. Tomatoes a few days less. As soon as they sprout, they open up the first set of leaves, called cotyledons or seed leaves, which look different from the regular ones. It takes a couple weeks or so after that for them to start opening up the first set of true leaves (again a little less for tomatoes and maybe a little more for peppers) and that is a process that takes a week or so to complete. I do not consider seedlings with one set of true leaves transplant ready - they are still very tiny and vulnerable.

I planted pepper seeds the first of february and tomato seeds yesterday, with the aim of having good sized transplants ready April 15 or a little after. My peppers are working on their true leaves now, but the first true leaves aren't full sized yet.

OK -- I read back through your post. I guess by transplant you didn't mean put them in the ground, since Mar 16 in PA would be way too early for that. So by transplant, you meant put them in to a pot? OR? If you mean putting them in a pot, it would be a bit earlier than I would like to do that, but probably they will be OK, if well cared for and transported gently.
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estorms
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I will be transplanting into pots, but I don't want to do it before I go home to PA. I have some appointments here in Baltimore so I thought I could start them here and take them with me when I go. I want to set them out about the middle of May. They should be easy enough to transport if they are still in the seed trays. I'm afraid if I wait until I get home they will be too late.

Dillbert
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>>I wait until I get home they will be too late.

most likely not. typically the "market packs" are in 2" cells - and they get quite large. is that "ideal"? probably not but if you can TLC the plantlets with light and water and not too warm you should be fine.

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applestar
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What do you plan to start the seeds in? I envision all kinds of bumps on the road between Baltimore and PA. Exposure to cold air.... Seedlings in cell trays nearly root bound would withstand the bumping around better than seedlings in loose soil. Tomatoes will be able to handle colder temp exposure than peppers. But neither will be able to sustain even brief freezing temp without some set back and extended exposure could mean worse.

I recommend clear/translucent storage tubs with snap/lock on lids or securely draft proofed (tape all flaps clsed) cardboard box for transport. Use padding to prevent the trays from sliding around, and some kind of airy, non crushing insulation for the foliage.

estorms
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I was planning to put them on the back seat of the car. It is four-lane highway all the way. I have two 72 cell trays. If it doesn't work I will have time to start some more. I am planning to transplant into pots when I get home and then use the trays to plant some flowers.

imafan26
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I don't know what the sun is like for you, but I avoid keeping plants in the car when the sun is out. Especially if they have been inside.

When I go on an orchid safari the 30 minute drive home with orchids in the back seat is enough to burn the leaves. That is why I park my orchids in the trunk. When we make stops at different nurseries, we pop the trunks to let air in otherwise it can get too hot in the trunk over 3 or 4 hours.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

estorms
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Location: Greenfield Township, PA

It is the middle of the winter here in PA. The car will be about 65 degrees and we will be leaving late when my husband gets off work. It is five hours from Baltimore to where I live, with a brief stop for supper. If it is very cold, we can make it brief. The house will be cold, but not freezing. Anything that is going to grow around here has to be tough! I only get what the bugs, animals and weather don't get first. These really are tomatoes and peppers. It's starting to sound like I am bringing home a new baby!

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