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can some seedlings be too large to transplant?

Posted by njitgrad NE NJ (My Page) on
Thu, May 2, 13 at 21:47

A friend of mine noticed the veggie seedlings in my garage today and commented on the fact that my cucumber seedlings were too large already to be transplanted into my raised garden beds. Is this true? I started them the last week of March so they are about 5 weeks old and they have several sets of silver dollar size leaves. I just started hardening them on May 1st.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: can some seedlings be too large to transplant?

From everything I have read - cucumbers dont "like" to be transplanted, and the older they are, the harder it is on them. That being said, I have successfully moved them out to the garden at 6-7 weeks old. 3-4 weeks old is what I shoot for.

If you have more cucumber seed, maybe you should start some back ups, and if these dont make it, you will have replacements.


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RE: can some seedlings be too large to transplant?

Damn, I should have started another batch of seeds two weeks ago. Next year I have to plan better. I'll see what happens. Right now the cucumber plants are in 16 oz plastic cups. I also have some summer squash and zucchini in the same situation. I'll take some pics today of my flats on the deck hardening in the shade. I'm already on day 3.

What I really need to do is come up with a schedule for next year as to how many days in advance I need to plant every one of my veggies. I would imagine that tomatoes would be the first on the list.


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RE: can some seedlings be too large to transplant?

deleted duplicate post

This post was edited by njitgrad on Fri, May 3, 13 at 10:17


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RE: can some seedlings be too large to transplant?

Here are the pics of the plants on my deck. Are the cukes too big to transplant?

What about the yellow squash and zuchinni?





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RE: can some seedlings be too large to transplant?

I would certainly plant them, just be as gentle as you can be. You are hardening them off, and as long as the shock isnt to much they should do fine. They are looking very healthy right now.

I suspect many people this year are holding their seedlings longer than is optimal, it has been a cold spring most places. I usually have a lot of things in the ground by now, but, we had snow on the ground until 10 days ago, then 5 days of warm spring weather when it finally melted away, then another eight inches of snow two days ago. I am starting my cucumbers tomorrow. Most of the annuals I started inside are blooming now!


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RE: can some seedlings be too large to transplant?

I can't see any problem with the size of any of those seedlings. In a cool climate like mine we have to transplant all the warm weather crops at that sort of size in order to get anything ripe before it's too cold again.


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RE: can some seedlings be too large to transplant?

Mandolls - you said you usually have stuff in the ground by now...do you mean tomatoes, cukes, and melons? Or just cool weather stuff? I'm wondering because I have never been safely able to plant before the middle of May before and I'm half a zone warmer than you. Is there something special you do, or is your garden plot in a micro-climate, or have I just been too chicken to give it a try, do you think?

ngtgrad - your plants look waaay healthier than mine. I sure wish you luck getting them in the ground without any dieing.


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RE: can some seedlings be too large to transplant?

You are right - I should have specified. I usually have cabbage, broccoli, lettuce and peas in the ground by now. (and I will be putting them in next weekend this year)

I dont plant out peppers and tomatoes etc. until the end of May usually. I did make some "low tunnels" to go over a couple of my beds so that I can attempt to get things in earlier. I havent used them much, but that is as much due to my work schedule as the weather.


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RE: can some seedlings be too large to transplant?

Thanks for the vote of confidence. I'm hoping they don't grow too much more before I plant in the ground (maybe as early as Sat May 11 if the forecast nighttime temps aren't too cool).


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RE: can some seedlings be too large to transplant?

I once heard that if the cucurbit starts flowering in the starting container, then you may as well start again. They grow so fast anyway.

I had 4 squash started early this year, but with the long wait for spring, all 4 started flowering in the cold frame. For the heck of it, I planted them in the yard to see how they would fair. They're still alive and flowering (still only male flowers, of course), but I'm not sure that they'll get much bigger. By that, I also mean they probably won't get big enough to create and support fruit.

So it's a fun experiment but I won't be depending on them to produce. I direct seeded squash into my allotment last week and they're already up and looking as pleased as Punch. I won't bother to start them inside again next year...

-Noel


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RE: can some seedlings be too large to transplant?

I direct sow cukes in early-mid June. They are super easy to sow in the garden, and sprout and grow quickly. Sometimes I sow a 2nd batch a few weeks later so they are staggered a bit.

I don't mind that they're sown late because I want the cukes to mature when the tomatoes come in. Love cucumber and tomato salads! The only time of year that I eat them, and they have to be fresh from the garden (or the farmstand).


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