Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Most plants that you are purchasing from the nursery have just been taken right out of a hot house. Nursery plants have been pampered and had perfect living conditions. What we need to do is toughen them up a little before we throw them out to the elements which would be direct sun, wind, and or cold any of these things could kill what looks like a perfectly good plant in one short afternoon.
Seven to ten days is what it usually takes to harden off most plants to the elements. A slow and gentle hardening off period. I start by setting the plants in a protected area with the plants getting about an hour of direct sun light and in an area that will not get to cold or windy, if it is a little to cool outside at night I will bring them in the house. Next, I set them out for a little longer time in the direct sun not more than a hour longer and that is about all for this day. After I set them out for longer and longer periods I let them take a good breeze as long as it is not a hard breeze 10 to 15 mile per hour breeze at the most, while always protecting them from a freeze.
My local last frost date is late in May so I would have to pay close attention if I were trying to set out frost sensitive plants like tomatoes or peppers at the end of may.
After slowly hardening off your plants for 7 to 10 days it is time to plant. The evening before I plant I will water them real well the reason for this is that they come out of there containers much better and you have less of a chance for root shock. I like to plant the seedlings in the evenings or on a cloudy day its just less stress for the seedlings.
Next, I dig a hole for the plant if it is a heavy feeder like tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons, squash and such I will add a organic blended fertilizer about a half cup to a cup in the bottom of the hole and mix it up real good with the surrounding soil and try to put some soil between the fertilizer mix and the seedling. Now take the seedling out of its container, once out of the container I apply Mycorrhaizae fungi You don't have to do this step but it really helps my plants. I use a powdered version of Mycorrhaizae fungi and I just sprinkle it on the exposed roots then about a half a tablespoon in the hole and place the plant right on top of the fungi and fill the hole up with soil then I like to water using a diluted seaweed fertilizer this is a very gentle fertilizer. Stake your plants now if your going to stake them.
Now we just sit back relax. Ha-ha. That was a joke. For the next couple of weeks we are going to baby these seedlings and protect them from the wind and from the cold as well as we can. EZ WALL PLANT PROTECTORS I can't tell you how much these help. The best thing you can do for your seedling is protect them. I can plant my tomatoes out 2 to 3 weeks earlier with the help of EZ WALL PLANT PROTECTOR. They also protect my young seedlings from the wind. check them out at this link above.
This is the point were the fun does start for me I love it when my plants are finally in. I am relieved now, I can start concentrate on a watering system. I am thinking a drip system with a timer . Its time to go to http://www.mrdrip.com/ whew im pooped...