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Old 03-19-2009, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
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OK, I started marigolds in a seed tray and have now transferred them to 40-50 of those peat pots. Right now they are sitting on cardboard trays on the floor of a relatively sunny guest bedroom. (I'm using the tops of cardboard file boxes.)

It's a small room and I have the door closed to keep the cats from getting into mischief with my little plant babies.

I'm guessing I should leave them in the room for at least a week, and mist them gently 2-3 times a day. Does that sound good?

It's the hardening off process that has me a little stumped. As far as I can tell, I do that in another week or so after the plants grow a little more. And the idea is to pour a little water in the trays--does it soaks through the peat pots? And I only take them out for an hour or so each day and keep them in the shade at first?

Would it be a good idea to use a humidifier in their room, to give them extra moisture? Or would that encourage mold?
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Old 03-19-2009, 04:57 PM
 
Location: Albemarle, NC
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What I would do...I would put them in something that you can carry outside with a little water in the bottom. The peat will absorb a lot of water, but it also dries out really fast. I don't use peat trays or pellets for that reason. Once it dries out, it's really hard to rewet.

For hardening off, the process is simple. You want to acclimate the plants to the outside environment with minimal stress. Since you just repotted, I would wait a week like you said. Then, every morning that the temperature is above freezing, stick them outside in the shade. They'll get some ambient light and wind. The winds will strengthen the stems just like muscle building does for us. Bring them in at night and make sure they have water. You want the soil to be moist, not wet. It's a fine line and sometimes you do too much, sometimes too little. You'll figure it out quickly though.

After a few days in the shade, start putting them in dappled shade. Be sure to protect them from critters so keep them off the ground. After a few days of dappled shade, let them have some morning sun. Then a few more days, you should be able to move them into full sun. The process takes about a week and a half, maybe two. If you're home during the day, it's easier to judge, so you might want to wait until a day off to move them into full sun. They will dry out a lot faster in the sun than in the shade.

Once the threat of frost has passed, plant them where you plan to let them grow. A week later, give them some 1/2 strength fertilizer and begin regular feedings a week or so later. If you use potting soil with fertilizer, skip that step. You don't want to kill them.
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Old 03-19-2009, 07:41 PM
 
Location: Alaska and Texas
202 posts, read 793,761 times
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Default bigger transplants better

You can transplant when the plants are small but if you can get them bigger you'll have better success. If you don't get enough sun indoors your plants will be "leggy" and weak. Give them more light with an ordinary flourescent light if needed. Try to get the light about 3-4" above the seedlings. When you see them getting strong and growing, that's when they can take the shock of going out into the world. Do as paperhouse suggested on hardening off. I'm lazy so I just put them in my greenhouse for a week before putting them in the ground. If you're lazy too you could build a coldframe if you don't have a greenhouse.
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