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I Know, I know...

Posted by retiredprof 7 - Northern DE (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 26, 09 at 15:26

a zillion questions already about the timing of seed starting under lights, but I can't find a straightforward answer after searching (maybe there isn't any, hahahaha). Anyway, if I use general guidelines for starting veggies such as peppers, eggplants, toms--let's say 6-8 weeks before last frost & setting out-- how much should I accelerate those times when growing under a 400w MH and 400w HPS?

I want good size transplants (maybe 8-10 inches), but am not looking for huge and I don't want to hold them long if the weather turns cold. I'm in zone 7, northern DE, for anybody near me who may be able to share experience.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: I Know, I know...

You can always count backwards from Frost Free to see the earliest you can plant. Add a week for hardening off and a week or two for germination and starting to actually grow.

If plants start to bloom too early, you can pinch off the flowers.

I've already started my peppers and plan on starting toms on Sunday.


RE: I Know, I know...

Mike: Where are you in the zone? I forgot the one week hardening off. Thanks for that reminder.

RE: I Know, I know...

Cincinnati. Frost Free here is May 15 or so.

Some people recommend hardening the plants for two weeks - last year I did it for a week but a lot depends on the temps, amount of sunlight, wind, etc.


RE: I Know, I know...

Prof, the MH is preferable for the first 6-8weeks of vegitative growth. The plants will be bigger, but I do like the results of supercropping to make stockier plants with bigger stems for nutrient pipelines. Listen to Mike on timing. Here is a 8 week including germination plant that was in a regular pot and only saw MH.


Stem Diameters.


That plant is about a foot tall, but it is in a massive pot and was transplanted in that pot right from germination. A few of the peppers that went germination, small pot, big pot slowed down every time they were replanted. A 1 gallon container is plenty to do a pretty big plant that will then go in the garden. The roots take a few days to expand to the new area and then plant growth resumes. I still believe 6-8 is good timing on tomatoes and agree with Mike that peppers are a little longer then that. Hope this helps and good luck.

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