Monday, March 18, 2013

When to Start Transplants

In Minnesota we have found that the best time to start transplants for Peppers is March 15 and Tomatoes is April 1. If you start earlier the plants can get pretty leggy before you put them out or you need to pot them up.

Watermelon, squash and pumpkin transplants are planted May 1 or they get too large. I usually direct plant these anyway, but it you want to be a few weeks early, you can do it.

I start my transplants in front of several large sunny windows. I used to start them on shelves in the basement under florescent shop lights. I use one cool white bulb and one warm white bulb to get the full spectrum coverage, instead of grow bulbs which are 3x more expensive. I don't do this any more because we remodeled and that space is now carpeted. 

Tomato transplant ready to be planted outside, fresh out of a 10x25 cell flat.I typically start transplanting outside the last week in May or first of June. I have tried to transplant earlier in May and about 75% of the time that one last frost will cause enough damage that the plants are either killed or set back, so there is no benefit. I like to keep the plants warm and happy. One of the reasons we grow enough extra transplants that we take to market, is to replace the plants that others put out early.

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