seedlings getting big but too cold to plant out!

bubblemama(USDA 10a/Sunset 18)April 15, 2012

Hi All,

I bought the babies at Tomatomania here in San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles) at the end of March. Weather then turned cold (for us), with nighttime temps well below 50. Forecast is for more of the same, with only a few days this week of 50+ night temps then back down again.

Right now, the seedlings are sitting on my kitchen table. Problem is, they are upwards of 18" tall and flowering. They're not root-bound yet, it seems.

Not sure what to do with them at this point. Leave 'em & remove flowers, start hardening off, re-pot (REALLY don't want to re-pot).

Gurus-please help!

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I'd plant them if they were mine. High forties - no sweat. High thirties - think about covering up. We had 37F the other morning and no visable damage. I've had plants in the ground since April 1st.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 3:50PM
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I agree with Jim. I'd plant them out, especially if the day time temp is good and the soil temp is not too cold.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 5:48PM
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bubblemama(USDA 10a/Sunset 18)


So....harden off or no?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 8:35PM
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I'm in Van Nuys and SFV has temps forecasted in the 70s-high 80's for the next ten days. I think it's the perfect time to harden off and put your tomatoes in the ground. Mine still have two or three weeks of growing left to go before they're big enough to go outside but I've had okra, cantaloupe, beans, and cukes in the ground the the last couple weeks. The okra hasn't been happy with the low temps but it's finally starting to warm up now.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 8:39PM
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bubblemama, definitely harden them off for a week at least. Actually this way they can get the sun in the morning and if the night temps are really terrible you can move them to a more sheltered location.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 9:12AM
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During hardening, I would put them in shade the first couple of days before allowing direct sun to hit them.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 11:09AM
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tylenol(z10 Ca)

I picked up 18 plants at Tomatomania on March 23. I kept them outside during the day and they spent the first 2 nights in the garage. The rest of the time they spent outside till I planted them on 4/2...2 weeks ago today.
They are all doing fine here in Chatsworth \ San Fernando Valley.. Hope this helps and Good Growing to you !


    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 12:28PM
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Mine are already outside. Tomatoes dont like cold and will pretty much sit there, but not die. As nightime tips go below 40 you may get some damage without cover.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 1:14PM
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