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Harden off in place?

Posted by ajsmama 5b (NW CT) (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 9:08

I've got all the indeterminates I started March 29 planted, still have lots more (started too many) so may plant more if I can let them sprawl - have about 50 feet of row where I had peppers last year, no cages/trellis.

But I still have 1 determinate type (Best Boy) and all the plants I started April 6 (mostly determinates, some are going to go in pots so I plan on just gradually potting up larger and larger) that have been outside for weeks, but haven't seen much sun. They were on east side of the house and shaded during the afternoon when we did have sun but we've had a LOT of rainy overcast days lately. I just went and dumped water out of the trays underneath the pots, they are soaked and we're supposed to get more rain this afternoon, all day tomorrow, and most of next week.

Weekend will be Partly Cloudy with only 10-20% chance of rain, the rest of the week is 30% of more. Am I better off taking the plants (incl my peppers which are way too wet, haven't planted any of those yet since started hardening them off in shade 10 days ago - again haven't seen any sun to speak of) inside the garage to dry out a bit, then trying to give them a little sun this weekend, plant Monday (might be the only dry day next week)? Or plant what I can today before it starts raining again and try to shade them the best I can if/when it gets sunny again? The peppers have been outside for 10 days, the newer tomato starts for a little longer. No telling *how* sunny and for how long/intense it will be Sat -Mon but I'm thinking whether they get sunscalded or not, getting them in the ground ASAP is better than leaving them in these soaked pots, or potting up again just for a few days (it's also getting late in the season to plant, peppers are going in new high tunnel so at least there's a chance of a harvest in Sept if I have them under plastic).

This looks like a repeat of last June when I got all my plants in late (early June rather than late May) and there was so much rain I had to replace half of them later in the month, very late tomato harvest and no peppers. So maybe potting some replacements up in 1 gal pots and trying to keep them dry would be prudent? I haven't got plastic yet for the tunnel.

Oh, and I don't have mulch right now - I don't know if I can get DH to go to my cousin's barn and get hay tonight, but if it's T-storming tomorrow I wouldn't be putting it down anyway, was planning on getting it Sat. Can't get it myself b/c I have really messed up my right shoulder and elbow with digging, have hard time even picking up a gal of milk.

This post was edited by ajsmama on Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 9:14


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Harden off in place?

Oh gee! I am no expert, but if it's going to be THAT wet, I'd be inclined to bring them inside the garage, give them a chance to dry off and keep them out of the rain for a week.

I have some plants in containers and I dragged them all under our awning to keep them out of the rain (we just had a 2" dump) - no sense in inviting disease when you don't have to!

Good luck!
Linda


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RE: Harden off in place?

I take that back about the mulch - I used all the old hay and grass clippings I had yesterday planting the cherry tomatoes, but I still have burlap and shredded leaves so could use those.

I can't wait another 7-10 days to plant out - I still have Golden Jubilee, Orange Minsk, Bloody Butcher and Moravsky Div plus Dr. Carolyn and Green Doctor, Camp Joy and Cheeseman's to plant out in addition to the peppers and the determinates (Sophie's Choice, Kootenai, Gem State and Sandpoint). I'm worried it will be too late for harvesting some of those (Golden Jubilee and OM are going in the tunnel but the others going outside) if I wait more than a few days. The greatest chance of rain next week is Thursday, so I would have to wait until after that if I were going to wait. I'm thinking it's now or Monday after things dry out a bit and I get that mulch.

All the ones listed above were started April 6 and are still in (individual cells) 6-packs, think I should pot up just to dry them out for the next couple of days, then plant Monday and figure they won't see much sun, not enough to scald?

They're still looking pretty good but although we got 0 inches of "cloudy" according to the Weather Channel yesterday, they were pretty swamped. Wouldn't you know I had just potted up some of my peppers 2 weeks ago, now those 4" pots are swamped too, and I still have some in cell packs (sweets not looking too good, need N, but the chiles were looking really nice).

Here is a link that might be useful: June weather

This post was edited by ajsmama on Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 10:22


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RE: Harden off in place?

You could always plant out the largest plants on the 14th and keep your fingers crossed that it will dry out in between the showers.

Sophie's Choice will be fine in a container as it is not supposed to get more than 18" tall. You could pot it up now if you have a suitable sized container to keep it in.

At this stage, I'd worry more about too much rain than about sunscald. Is there any chance that you could plant them out and rig up some kind of umbrella over them?

I would keep a couple of plants in reserve just in case....

Good luck,
Linda


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RE: Harden off in place?

Juat brought them all in the garage since it looked like it was brightening but it was misting (?). Have a couple older plants that look like they dampened off! Thank goodness the younger ones look OK for now. Sophie's Choice look beautiful - I only have 4 of them (still have to let SHP know about poor germination) but nice and stocky and green. Those will get potted up today, I really think gradually is best rather than going right into 1 gal pot. Already potted up my last 4 Gem State (just into 3.5" square pots - had potted 2 that were getting leggy already). Sandpoint and Kootenai going in pots today/tomorrow too. The cherries, BB, etc. will probably keep in cells and plant directly from them.

So you think I can put them all out on Sat? It's not really going to be that sunny, it's been overcast and raining most of the past 4 weeks and it looks like next week will be the same. No way to put an umbrella over them (except the ones going in the tunnel I could put a tarp over the hoops) but I was thinking I could cover with pots to give them some shade - might help with rain too next Thurs though I'm hoping the forecast is wrong and we really won't get any rain Sat PM - Wed, let it dry out a bit.

Orange Minsk and Golden Jubilee are the only "large" plants left, the cherries are getting a little leggy but BB, MD, and the determinates are pretty small.

Some of my older plants like Cosmonaut Volkov are getting rootbound though - or maybe it was just b/c the pots were sitting in solid trays, but I've got roots coming out the bottoms of some 4" pots. All the older plants look like they need some fertilizer - but too wet to water. Yesterday the ones I had put in the ground the beginning of June were looking very nice (except for 1 Cosmonaut that I replaced, I think a cutworm got it even though I had a TP roll collar).


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RE: Harden off in place?

Sounds as if you have a plan! I'd keep the four Sophie's in pots and then you WILL have some tomatoes this summer!

Cutworms are a pain. I always used Toilet Paper rolls too, and thought they worked until I lost some plants to cutworms. I use sticks up against the stems now.

Maybe the weather man will be wrong! We can always hope!

Linda


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RE: Harden off in place?

The rain isn't doing the strawberries any good either - just picked a pint, almost half have slug holes and I threw some others that weren't even pink into the compost b/c they were all chewed up, whether by slugs or something else (almost looked like someone used sandpaper). Also found another cut lettuce head - but this time a slug on it, so I don't know if slugs only eat the leaves or also chew the stems.


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RE: Harden off in place?

Now the forecast is saying rain Wed and Fri but rest of the week partly cloudy - except Sunday. Sunday is going to be sunny - great for the holiday, but does that mean I should only plant what's seen the sun (a week or more ago) or what I can shade?

I really want to get the rest of these plants in the ground! Some of the peppers are looking very yellow and are dropping leaves, they got too wet and need food! But they haven't been out in the afternoon sun at all - plant the tomatoes tomorrow and the peppers on Monday when it will be overcast?


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RE: Harden off in place?

Or rig up some shade for them. If they are little, you could place a plastic flower pot with the bottom cut out around them or else I use things like watering cans and large pots strategically placed to keep them shaded.

You could also plant them in the evening, the night before the predicted sunny day.

Good luck!

Linda


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RE: Harden off in place?

We've got an afternoon birthday party and an evening wake tomorrow so I don't know if I can get out there and plant peppers - and if Sunday is really sunny I don't think I want them out there all day anyway. I'll just move the peppers out into the sun tomorrow, watch them to see if they might be able to take more sun on Sunday, and plan on planting Monday since Sunday night will probably be taking DH and Dad out to dinner.

But boy am I glad I moved everything into the garage yesterday! I think we got 2" in the past hour!


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RE: Harden off in place?

My patience was being tested and everything went in last Sat.
Even the toms i put in a bit early...three weeks ago look great...(took a chance)
All seeds in, salads, pole beans, etc.
Turned it all over to mom nature...

It has been so soggy and damp all week and now more rain...the two rejected trays of starts meant for the compost are doing great...so i still have some babies to tend. (eye roll)

I would go ahead and get some in to break up the task since time is limited...especially the peppers. And give them some shade.
Starting tomorrow we have a few nice days and soil is nice and wet now.


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RE: Harden off in place?

The peppers are all going in the tunnel since I know time is running out, hope to extend the season. But boy, pouring again now, I hope the tomatoes I already planted are doing OK, if we don't get a whole lot more rain this week/month they might but I'm having flashbacks to last June...


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