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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Five Bad Days of Weather and Transplants: Plastic Cup Domes

What I learned over the years is... March weather can make or break my transplants. Both my direct garden transplants and transplants that I put into cups are at risk. Why? The cold days (under 45), the lack of sun, mostly clouds and rain, and the cold nights (under 34 and below freezing). One day is not so bad, maybe even two is okay. But I have a string of 5-7 days of bad weather combination coming.

Three or more days like this really breeds fungus and disease and/or just zaps the transplants. The cold weather plants in the garden just need night protection. The transplants in cups can NOT sit outside. Because they don't have the warmth of the earth, they chill down way to much in the cups.  I also have seed flats growing greens. They will need care too. The constant rainy days and lack of full sun, keep the plants in the cups and flats from drying through, this creates a bad environment.

What this means is my cup transplants will have to sit in the garage for most of the time. This is much better then sitting in the cold, dark, damp outdoors for 5 or more days. I will have to make some emergency grow lights to rest over them. This is well worth the time and effort.

The plants in the garden will be covered with a simple hard clear plastic cup from the grocery store. About a 12 oz cup will due to cover the plants. I will do this around 5 pm when I get home and remove them in the morning. I am just giving them some protection from the harder nights. Greens and cool weather crops can handle some frost. The warm garden beds protect the roots from freezing.

The seedlings in trays will be wrapped in clear plastic drop cloths from the hardware store. I do not want them to sit soaked for days. They are all greens and should fair well even in the cold nights. The sun that is there will penetrate the drop cloth. I will air them out when I can.

Hopefully in 5-7 days... the sun will be back, the days will hit 60, and the nights will stay in the low 40's.

Here is what the weather looks like in my area. Because I am in the suburbs... I subtract several degrees from the night time temperatures.


Today

Mar 23 T-Storms
56°
40° Night

Thu
Mar 24 AM Showers
46°
27° Night

Fri Mar 25 Mostly Sunny
47°
33° Night

Sat Mar 26 Mostly Cloudy
39°
32° Night

Sun Mar 27 Few Showers
45°
29° Night

See... not so good.