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timing with transplants

Posted by kawaiineko_gardener 5a ( on
Fri, Feb 18, 11 at 18:40

First and foremost.......

I need to know how long it takes to grow tomato, eggplant, and bell pepper seedlings when you start them indoors.
I know for cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and the like, you need 4-6 weeks. However I don't know how much time you need
to give eggplant, tomato, and bell pepper transplants. I need to know this information. All I know is that they take longer.

The tomato varieties I'm growing are...

*Tomatillo (Mexican green tomato with a papery husk)
*Slicers (those best eaten raw, used in salads, cubed or chopped up, etc.)

All of these take between 60-80 days to mature. It varies with the varieties I'm growing, I haven't decided which
to order yet.

Eggplants take about 50-60 days to mature.

I tried asking this question in a thread I had already posted, but received no answer to it. Regarding the other information that follows I also tried to ask about in a previous thread, but didn't get the questions answered.

I basically need to know when to plant them. I live in the northern part of Michigan, upper part of the lower peninsula.

Gardening season doesn't start till early or middle of May,
that's if the weather cooperates; it ends in October or November.

Summers are hot in the 'heat of the season', but much milder compared to summers in hotter climates (southern climates).

I would like to have my seedling transplants big enough
that their root systems are sturdy enough and developed
enough that they can be hardened off, but small enough that
I don't have to repot them to bigger containers.

I realize this strengthens root systems but I have a very limited amount of space to grow these in. If I have to repot them while they're still being grown as transplants indoors they'll be bigger, and this will take up more space, which I don't have.

One last question. I heard if you use a 4' growlight you can fit 30 mature seedlings under it. If I were to use
a 'hobby greenhouse' that is essentially a flat with a set number of peat pellets in it, would I be able to grow about 70 seedlings in the same amount of space?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: timing with transplants

The tomato seeds I planted exactly 29 days ago have sprouted and already been transplanted once into 4 inch wide square pots. The tops of the plants are now four to five inches above the surface of the potting soil. Next week they will be six inches or more tall, the minimum height I would consider selling the plants, though I would prefer to wait two more weeks when the plants will probably be eight inches or more high.
However I have a powerful indoor light setup that uses 7 fluorescent tubes per a shelf on my seed starting rack, plus I put my plants outside in the full sun and wind during the daylight hours so they are completely hardened off and have strong stocky stems. If you have just one shop light and it is too cold where you are to put the plants outside during the day your plants would probably grow slower. Plus I use very large containers to start my seeds in so they are not crowded, spacing the seeds an inch and a half apart in both directions.

RE: timing with transplants

Tomatoes require a bit more potting on than say, cabbage seedlings. I usually start mine in April in cells, then pot them on into 4" pots when they have 2 sets of true leaves. Then when they are about 4" tall, I plant them into gallon pots, removing all but the top leaves and sinking the stem all the way in so that only the top leaves are out of the soil. Tomatoes will grow roots from the stem, so when you are ready to plant them outside after the ground warms up, they are really well established and start growing very quickly.

RE: timing with transplants

I would only grow 8-10 plants under a 22" 'hobby greenhouse' light.

I would plant your tomatoes, peppers and eggplant 2 weeks ago. The earliest they can go out is May 1st in your area and even then the soil is still very cool so they will sit and do nothing for awhile.

There are no black and white answers in gardening and I think you are seeking answers no one has, we all, through trial and error find out what works best for us. These are all guidelines, you and plant a tomato seed in the ground in May and you will probably get tomatoes by late summer so you dont have to start them inside but it would be much better.

You can also plant seedlings outside a day after they emerge... there are so many variables and so many ways things... no black and white answers though.

Gardening is fun! not stressful and you seem stress out about all thee details.


RE: timing with transplants

Well for starters I wouldn't be growing under a 22" light, it would be over double that (48", 4 feet).

2nd I don't believe gardening is fun if you go thru all the work to plant and grow the stuff, and get no results. If everything dies, or things don't turn out the way you'd like, I don't consider it fun.

RE: timing with transplants

"2nd I don't believe gardening is fun if you go thru all the work to plant and grow the stuff, and get no results. If everything dies, or things don't turn out the way you'd like, I don't consider it fun."

We've all had this happen. It's the way we learn what works and what doesn't.
No one can give you an exact date to start your plants. No one knows what the weather is going to do. I'm in a zone a bit colder than yours and I start my toms and peppers in mid-March. I pot them up to 8oz cups, then to 16oz cups before hardening them off about mid-May. As soon as the night temps stay around 50 degrees, I plant them out into their final containers or raised bed. The timing is going to be a little different each year.
Maybe you should use the money you would spend on a "mini greenhouse" and purchase seedlings(at least some of them) from a nursery or garden center your first time around and slowly get into starting from seed. It may take some stress off.
You can also Winter Sow some of your seeds if you don't have a lot of room for potting up. Check out the Winter Sowing forum for more info. We're all trying to help you succeed.

RE: timing with transplants

In one of your previous 8 or 9 posts you were admit on telling me that a 48" light was not feasible and that you were getting a 22" light, that is why I wrote about a 22" light�.

I am done helping and giving advice on deaf ears�. Sorry so blunt but you have asked the same questions 10 times looking for an answer you want to hear� I don�t get it and I don�t think I can help anymore.

Have fun and best of luck with your veggies� it will be very rewarding to pick a fresh pepper off a plant you have grown from seed yourself! : )


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