Transplant timing

texandana(8a)January 28, 2012

I'm new to vegetable gardening and am going to try tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, corn, carrots and iceburg lettuce this spring. I'm in Texas. Our last spring frost date is March 16th which is about 6 weeks away. I started my tomatoes and lettuce in containers yesterday so that they will be ready to be transplanted by March 16 (or very soon after). Here is my question. I have done plenty of my own research on this subject but have come up with nothing. If the tomatoes and lettuce have 6 weeks to grow in containers, is that too long? I cant find any info on how many weeks they should stay in the containers before transplanting, just things that say "transplant when lettuce has 2 true leaves". How long does that take?? If the 2 true leaves are developed in week 3 (just an example, this can go for any container veggie) but it is still too cold outside to transplant, is it okay for them to stay in the containers a few more weeks? I know the lettuce absolutely has to be transplanted but can the tomatoes stay in the pots as long as they are getting full sun, lots of water, etc? I already have all the other veggies that are going in the ground, it would be nice to keep one or maybe 2 in containers. Thanks for any advice you can give.

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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)

I transplant at two leaves, into small pots, where the plants stay until time to go in the ground. If the weather is beastly, you can always 'pot up' one more time. Bury more of the stem and it will put out roots and you'll have big healthy plants.

Personally, I keep some plants started or in containers all year long, so I always have something to replace a played out plant with. Sometimes the replacement is small, sometimes not, but sequential planting is the key to making a small garden very productive.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 1:01PM
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lrvjim(7 to 8)

That is not to long for your tomatoes, but they will need to be moved up if you started with very small pots, cell pack size.

That would be a stretch for lettuce, but you should be able to move it into the garden 2 to 3 weeks before your last expected frost date. You could seed some lettuce directly into your garden about now, or certainly within 2 weeks. Lettuce enjoys cool weather, tomatoes do not.

Do you know that Iceberg lettuce can be difficult to grow to maturity in many parts of the country? Could I suggest some buttercrunch or leaf lettuce instead?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 9:03AM
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