plant broccoli before a freeze, or no?

leira(6 MA)March 25, 2012

I've managed to start some Waltham broccoli from seed this year, and they're doing great. I'd call them ready for transplant into the garden.

The seedlings have been outdoors for a week or two, and are hardened off...BUT we had an unseasonably warm week last week, with weather in the 70s or even 80s, and the seedling have never seen a frost.

Now the temps are back to what you'd expect for the season, and the weather predictions say that it will drop into the high 20s a couple of nights this week.

Am I asking for trouble to transplant these seedlings right before the temps dip below freezing? Should I wait until I expect a few above-freezing nights in a row? Should I wait until the seedlings have gone through a frost in their pots?

Then again, maybe this is the perfect use for my excess of seedlings. I supposed I could try some of each, and see how it goes...but I'd love to hear what the rest of you think.


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I don't think high twenties will hurt them if they're established in the ground by the time the weather hits. Broccoli is pretty hardy. A couple of years ago, I put some out early and we got a cold snap into the teens. I thought all the seedlings were toast and bought replacements, but most of them recovered. I had a lot of broccoli that year.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 9:52AM
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leira(6 MA)

Well, ltilton, the whole "established in the ground by the time the weather hits" is exactly my concern. I'd planned to transplant them this weekend, but now it's Sunday, and the temps on Monday and Tuesday nights are supposed to drop into the high 20s.

So, do I plant them today, or wait until Wednesday or later?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 10:04AM
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My green goliaths survived being snowed on, crushed by ice and at least 10 degree temps.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 10:05AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

I think it depends on the size of the plant. Do a search on broccoli buttoning (or go old-school and read about it in a book). Or maybe buttoning is solely temperature related. I forget. But buttoning means the plants survives but you get tiny little heads formed. How long is your cold spell supposed to last?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 10:22AM
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Why subject your nice broccoli seedlings to any extra stress when you can wait a few days and skip the drama? We had pea-size hail yesterday, and I was glad all my cabbage-ites were covered with cloches. This time of year, the weather is seldom fair. Proceed with caution.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 10:55AM
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I just brought in all my seedlings from outside, including broccoli and and cabbages. My seedlings are very small though. We're suppose to be having "more typical" weather, with highs in the 50's and lows in the 20's.

I'd rather not take the chance of losing my babies.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 11:55AM
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Under those circumstances, I'd hold off, just in case.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 1:22PM
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