sunning seedlings

Starting Seeds

sunning seedlings

Today was one of those reasons I put up with the long winter. A clear blue sky and the beauty of the earth waking up.

It was over 50F between 12 noon and 6 pm, so ALL my seedlings got to sunbathe. 50F is my minimum temp for mid-range vegetables: tomatoes, basil, marigolds, etc. For cold-weather vegetables like onions, cabbage, lettuce etc., 40F is fine. Hot weather seedlings need 60-65F. Eggplants and peppers are hot weather veggies, but today was so lovely I put these out too.

I have seven trays of all sorts of veggies and flowers. They are growing well. The cabbage leaves look great, tomatoes leaves are very dark green and healthy looking, marigolds have fat flower buds (!), onions growing slowly but looking good so far.

Cold-weather seedlings, 40F minimum:
onions, cabbage, lettuce, escarole, arugula, spinach, broccoli, celery, celeriac, parsley, beets, kale, thyme

Mid-range veggies, 50F minimum:
tomatoes, basil, marigolds, cosmos, heliotrope

Hot weather veggies, 65F minimum:
eggplant, peppers, squash, beans

9 Comments. Leave new

  • Your seedlings are looking great and you have lots of them. They will love their outing.

    How are your early tomatoes doing? I potted my early one into a one gallon pot and it is over a foot high. I have a couple photos up of it on the blog.

    I have one of the purple calabash growing that you sent. I have so many tomatoes that I can only grow one of each. I started it along with the rest of my tomatoes on march 20th.

  • Smart to only grow one of each. I have 9 early ones that I forgot to bring out today. They look very good though. About 5 inches tall with 4 sets of leaves. Tomorrow I’ll bring them out too, We’re supposed to get up to 70F! I’m hoping I won’t need to transplant the tomatoes again before planting out.

  • I bet they loved that! They all look so healthy- happy gardening to you!

  • We were in the high 60s here, and I was considering bringing my eggplant seedlings out for a bit, but got nervous it would still be cool – I know they are really warm weather lovers. How long can you leave them? Today/this weekend is supposed to be the same, even at 70*, so maybe they can sun then?

  • The optimum temperature for best growth of eggplants is 70-85*F. Minimum is 65, max is 95. They don’t like temperature extremes.
    Vegetable ProductionYou can leave them out for as long as its over 65. I watch the thermometer.

  • Kathy I took your lead and set my seedlings outside today, it is 65 out. My seedlings aren’t nearly as big as yours, the tomatoes only have one set of true leaves. I am afraid I may have left them in the sun too long next to the side of our house (which is white aluminum siding) because they don’t look very good. When I realized they may be cooking, I brought them in, gave them some water, and put them in a dark place. I am hoping they snap back. The true leaves don’t look bad, but the initial leaves look cooked. The other things I put out seem to have fared better. I was afraid I had too many tomatoes, now I just hope some survive.

  • Kathy … from bad experience I can tell you that you also have to be careful of the wind. Indoor plants are not used to it so you have to give them some acclimation to that too. Usually just a physical wind block will suffice. Once they are out in the ground, and assuming that you put them in the ground on a calm, cloudy day (best), they will acclimate quickly.

  • Yes. Be careful of the wind. And the intense sun. Plants indoors under lights are not getting nearly the amount of light the full sun gives. Gradually increasing the time out is good. Terry, yours will probably revive, but still the idea is to have them grow and not to stress them.

    Last year I covered my tomatoes when I put them out the first few days. I put them out on the south side of the house with really bright sun. I covered them with that plastic thing that comes with some seed trays. But it blew off the edge a bit and the plants at that side got cooked and dried out in the sun and wind. I lost the plants at the whole corner of the tray.

    This year, I’m putting my young seedlings out along the stone wall of my patio on the east side of the house. They are happy so far. They didn’t get to go out today as I was busy. Maybe tomorrow.

  • MarianLondonUK
    April 18, 2009 7:03 AM

    Hi, it is hard when the weather is so chageable. I have been hardening off various veggies and flowers but Thursday and Friday it rained so hard they would have drowned. I think I may have started my tomatoes too early. They look healthy, but it is too risky to put them in the ground yet I think. I may have to move them to my Mums to look after while I am away. I have done too many this year, have promised many to friends and family; I couldn’t throw any away though as they came up strong, I feel wicked putting them in the compost bin after all their effort.
    Happy gardening.



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