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when to put plants out?

Posted by ezzirah011 7a (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 6, 12 at 6:33

I was looking at the forecast for the rest of the week and rain is predicted thru the weekend, but I have to get my cool season plants out...

I was wondering, how many of us put plants out in the rain? Is it a wise idea? I work a 9 to 5 and really don't have time during the week...


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: when to put plants out?

I have planted in the rain, the plants enjoyed it more than I did.

Larry


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RE: when to put plants out?

I love gardening in a warm rain. Pulling weeds is fun in the rain. I have rocks though not clay soil. Clay soil has to be treated carefully when it is wet. It can get compacted. I still think you can slip plants in with out too much digging; they will love the rain.


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RE: when to put plants out?

I never failed a single transplant when planted during rainy days... I planted third batch of peas transplants when it was raining last last week. But I have raised beds no issues of puddling or getting soil compacted. -Chandra


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RE: when to put plants out?

Make sure it is just rain, and not a thunderstorm. In my childhood it rained, now it seems only thunderstorms bring rain. Lightening is dangerous and will quickly make me come inside.


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RE: when to put plants out?

Carol's point is a good one. You can be hit by lighting from a storm that's 10 miles away and that you're barely aware of. Occasionally people are hit by a bolt from the blue---literally a bolt of lightning will hit them while the sky is clear, sunny and blue overhead. When I hear a thunderstorm coming, no matter how badly I want to finish whatever I'm doing in the garden, I head inside until the thunder and lightning have passed through our area and moved on.

Ezzi, If you have loamy clay that drains well, you could plant before, during or after the rain. If you have clay that is compacted and drains slowly, you might want to wait several days after it rains. Young transplants have smallish root systems depending on how many weeks old they are, and can struggle and even die if they stand in very wet soil for too many days.

It depends, too, on what you're wanting to transplant. I'd plant onions, potatoes, sugar snap peas or English peas, lettuce, beets, broccoli, cabbage Swiss chard or spinach. If you are wanting to sow something like lettuce seed or carrot seed directly into the soil, I'd wait until after the rain has ended because heavy rains could wash away those little seeds.

I have virtually all my cool-season plants out now, except for the succession planting of peas that will go into the ground in a couple of weeks, but I am over 100 miles south of you. You still have at least another week before it really would be considered "late" to get cool-season crops in the ground. And, really, with most cool-season crops even when I have planted them 2 to 4 weeks late, I've generally had a great harvest. It is worse to plant certain warm-season crops late (like tomatoes and peppers) because high temperatures can shut down their production almost before it starts. Lettuce is one crop it is risky to plant late because if the heat arrives early, lettuce that was planted late starts burning up pretty early in its life.

I wouldn't put anything outside in the wind we're having today unless you have a good wind block to keep the high winds from beating the plants to death. I have row cover over all the plants I have in the ground and in large containers today, not because of the temperature but because of the wind. It is going to be a long windy day and night followed by several days of possible rain or even a chance of snow for the folks who are very far west or northwest in OK or KS.

If your clay only drains moderately well at best and you don't have raised beds, plant as high as you can without leaving roots exposed above ground. Planting deep in wet heavy clay in March is just asking for trouble. We haven't had rain here in a couple of weeks, and our soil is still very wet about 4" below the soil surface. I know we need rain, but I wish it wasn't going to fall until my soil was a little drier.

Dawn


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RE: when to put plants out?

Dawn I was interested in what you said about lightning out of a blue sky. I am guilty of staying out just a few more minutes when I hear lightning in the distance. Most people I know are even less afraid and cautious than I. When I am at an outdoor event I watch the ominous clouds and worry about it more than most. 4th of July fireworks are the worst because the crowd is so large you can't get out fast. At least a vehicle is safe from lightning although not from wind.

Here is a link that might be useful: lightning out of the blue


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RE: when to put plants out?

My soil is mostly a silty sand. I thought I had clay the year before last because it was so hard, but it turns out I had unworked silty sand. I composted the heck out of the spots this year in hopes to keep some moisture in. Last year after I tilled I could've watered twice a day as fast as it drained!

I have my peas and spinach out, this is my broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and bok choy I need to get out there. I am considering a round of 4 am planting. LOL.....


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RE: when to put plants out?

Why not plant at 4 am on the morning of the full moon? You'd have plenty of light.

With sand, just keep adding all the organic matter you can and eventually you can improve its water-holding capacity. Soil improvement never ends because compost breaks down and gets used up. We have a band of sandy-silty soil running north-south across our property and I had to amend it for six years before anything would survive the summer in it even with irrigation. It is almost harder to improve than clay. At least clay holds water when rain is falling, though it eventually holds too much. Our sandy-silty soil will get so dry that when you try to water it, the water beads up and runs downhill. Mulch helps with that issue because the water percolates more slowly down through the mulch and into the sandy-silty mix instead of immediately rolling downhill until it is out of sight.

You wouldn't believe how many kinds of plants I planted in that sandy-silty soil in the early years and then lost every one of them ecause it wouldn't hold water. It is a lot better now, but I don't think it ever will hold moisture well enough to please me.


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