Hardening off Snapdragons

farmgarden(z4-5)April 9, 2006

Hello everybody -

Have a quick question about getting out Snaps for planting in the field this year.

My Snapdragons for cutting have been growing in a greenhouse and are a good 3 to 4 inches tall. The greenhouse has side curtains that open on good days so the plants have gotten a lot of fresh air and look really strong and healthy.

This next weeks weather won't go below freezing according to the report, I would like to get these plants outside into a cold frame as early as possible. How soon is the very earliest they can be planted into the ground outside? I know the seedlings can take a light freeze, but what if it gets really cold again? Will they be able to handle that? I do use seaweed as a foliar spray and I think it does help plants handle the cold better. Anyone with experience with planting out snaps early? Thank you for any help.

- Jeff

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Hi, Jeff... my zone is warmer than yours but as far as I understand snaps can handle a pretty heafty cold snap. Mine have been out in the ground for about 2 weeks now and it has got down to 35 degrees and they couldnt have cared less. According to Armitage, snaps can handle temps down to 25-28 degrees if properly hardened off, otherwise they produce 'snapper soup'. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 11:47PM
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If they are greenhouse snapdragons, they cannot handle 25-28 degrees. We grow Potomac in our hightunnel. At those temperatures, they would be toast. They aren't any hardier than peppers and eggplant.

Rocket and Spring Giant are more cold tolerant. I don't thing you would be growing Rocket in the coldframe however. Spring Giant is suitable for both the coldframe and field production.

This week our lows are supposed to be in the 40s. It's a good time to move some of these plants to the coldframe. If it's going to get down near freezing, and you are growing actual greenhouse snapdragons, you'll want to cover them at night with row cover.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 7:14AM
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Jeanne_in_Idaho(z5 N.Idaho)

So, will they be planted out permanently into a cold frame, or is that in intermediate step before planting out? If it's just an intermediate step, and the cold frame is covered, and you're unlikely to get really low temps, you could do it now. The cold frame will protect from some frost. If the cold frame has a glass top and nice thick sides, it will protect from quite a lot of frost. If it's going to get REALLY cold, you could throw a row cover over them inside the cold frame. I'm hindered by not knowing where you are and not knowing your last frost date, and not knowing what your cold frame is made of.

I plant my snaps out around two weeks before the last frost, after hardening off, of course. Here, that's around late May, and it's still too early to put anything out in a cold frame now - but my "cold frame" is only made of with greenhouse poly over hoops, so it only protects from a few degrees of frost.

This is all assuming these are outdoor snaps, not greenhouse types, since you'll be growing them outside.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 10:51AM
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