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Friday, April 1, 2011

Tomatoes are Stuck in Their Cells: Hardening Off

I don't have much choice but to keep my tomatoes in the seed cells right now. The cold weather has prevented me from getting other plants outdoors. Typically I can put the foil trays with cupped plants outside during the day and put them in my garage at night. This gives me a lot of extra room. Along with the cold nights, we have had cold days of 45 degrees or less. That is just too cold for the lavender, rosemary, oregano, and other plants I want out in 55 or 60 degree days. This week has averaged 10 to 15 degrees below normal temperatures.

So I have a back log of plants now. Some of my tomatoes are sucking the nutrients out of soil in their cells. I can definitely say Miracle Grow potting soil beats Jiffy seed starting mix. The Jiffy gave me water absorption problems and it has no fertilizer. The Miracle Grow absorbs water and the tomatoes in that product are nice and green. They are all getting liquid fertilizer as I write.

So what to do... well I can try to harden off my tomatoes in the seed trays. They should get 1 or 2 hours of early or late full sun. Even though it is cold, full afternoon sun can burn them. And yes a few leaves got burned. I used the translucent painter's plastic cloth again to block the full afternoon sun. I wanted the plants to get light and get wind blown. The burns came when I didn't use the plastic drop cloth.

Behind it are my steps and the tomatoes.

The tomatoes and other cupped plants

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