I have a couple of trays of APS Seed Starter System from Gerdener's Supply. (the kind with the reservoir at the bottom, water wicking mat, and tray for seedlings on it, with cover.
Can I put the seeds in and immediately put them outside in cool weather? The reason I'm trying this is I want to avoid the hardening off period, since I'm away from home 5 days a week, 12-13 hours a day.
The seeds are lettuce and spinach, and right now its 59 degrees outside.
You should be able to do that with spinach and lettuce with no problems - as long as the trays are not in the sun at all. With the clear plastic covers, even a little bit of sun will raise the temps to a very high level and fry anything you have in them.
I don't know what your eventual plans are, but if temps are in the 50-60 degree range, why not just plant them in the ground?
Thank you for replying. I don't know. This is only my second season of gardening, so I'm learning as fast as I can. Sometimes our nights are still getting down in the low forties and high thirties. Is it still okay to plant them directly? I thought it needed to be a bit warmer before I planted them... In a few weeks I'll have my raised bed in place. They were going to go there. But I have a few containers I could use.
If you are still getting down into the thirties, it is probably too cool to plant them outside. Do you know your soil temps? I plan all my outside plantings on the soil temp in my area. If you do some looking on the web, you should be able to find a link to a University web site that monitors soil temps throughout your state. (Most State Universities run a network of weather stations at their research centers). I'm not that familiar with Texas obviously, but I don't grow any transplants for spinach or lettuce. I just seed them outside when soil temps reach about 45 degrees at the 4 inch level. Hopefully others will chime in here on local practices in your area. You might just want to wait and seed directly into the beds when you have them finished.