How early can I put plants outside?

plant-one-on-me(MI 5b)March 12, 2008

I am new to starting my own seeds and want to get started. I do not have money for grow lights, even the cheapo floresent ones. I also only have 1 small window on the south side of the house. Here is what I was hoping to do...

I plan on taking my husband's sawhorses and placing them on the patio which is in full sun from morning until the sun moves to the west at which time it would be shaded from the house. I would place a couple 2x4's across the top and them place some heavy duty plastic on top. I would be able to move my plants outside around 8am and bring them back inside around 4 pm. I work the midnight shift and go to bed about 4pm so that is why I would bring them in at that time.

Anyway, how warm does it need to be in my little makeshift greenhouse in order to move the plants in and out and not shock them too much. Also, what temps does it need to stay in order to leave them out all night? I am hoping to start tomatoes, peppers, melons, cukes etc as soon as possible but don't want them to get too leggy before I can begin to put them outside. Thanks, Kim

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greenhouser(Middle TN Zone 6)

You can get cheap fluorescent fixtures at places like Wal*Mart for as little as $8.99 w/2 40w bulbs.

All the plants you mentioned are heat lovers. You can't put them outside in the daytime until it's at least in the 60s, 70s are better. To leave them out all night it has to be in the mid to high 50s, 60s are better. This is from my personal experience.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 12:28AM
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greenhouser(Middle TN Zone 6)

You can get cheap fluorescent fixtures at places like Wal*Mart for as little as $8.99 w/2 40w bulbs.

All the plants you mentioned are heat lovers. You can't put them outside in the daytime until it's at least in the 60s, 70s are better. To leave them out all night it has to be in the mid to high 50s, 60s are better. This is from my personal experience.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 12:29AM
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plant-one-on-me(MI 5b)

I thought I needed special lights to go in those fixtures. I have a flourscent fixture in the basement with standard bulbs, would that be sufficient? Thanks, Kim

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 2:27AM
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greenhouser(Middle TN Zone 6)

I used to start them under regular cheap fluorescent bulbs from Wally World. I had the bulbs about 3 to 4" above the seedlings. Those were the days before I even had the sunroom, no less the GHs.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 10:23PM
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