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Never said Happy Spring to anyone,but what the heck. Anyway, for the last couple of years, I have had a small veggie garden. This garden has consisted of mainly tomatoes,cucumbers,and squash. In previous years I have bought the plants from the local nursery,and planted them mid-April to late April.
I decided this year to try growing these veggies by seed and see what happens. Well... I think I got overzealous. I started the seeds indoors a few weeks ago. I bought 3 Burpee seed starting trays,and have seedlings popping out of my ears! I tried various types of tomatoes(about 7 different types),2 different types of cucumbers and 2 different types of squash. They all came up! I was shocked. I figured that I might get half of what I sowed.
My first problem is I don't know what I'm going to do with all these seedlings,since my garden space is about 50 feet by 12 feet. Here comes my biggest problem... I have no idea what to do with the seedlings now. I would like to put them in larger pots outdoors,but it is still somewhat cool outside. I am afraid that if I did that they would die. I don't have any room indoors to keep them if I did move them into larger pots. Any suggestions or info on what to do with these seedlings??
The squash seedlings are getting tall,about 5 inches, and are getting somewhat leggy. The tomato plants are about 2 inches tall. Any help on this would be very appreciated!
By The way, I live in Southeast Va,zone 7b. Thanks!
To add to Slider's questions...is it ok to put seedlings out on a day like today? (84) Supposed to be nice next few days...84/83/79/77/81...Or should I still keep them inside under lights? I have just now transplanted them into 3" pots.
The squash are about too big for good transplant...you'll get a better harvest if you direct seed them into the ground where they will grow. Squash are very quick growing plants and once the start to get leggy, chances are, they're stressed...and it will be another couple of weeks before you'll plant them. I always plant squash, cuke and melon seed right in the ground. They seem to do better. This isn't saying that they will die...but you'll have better plants and a much better harvest if direct seeded.
I have bought seedlings, but only if they are just getting their first true leaves and the cotyledons..(the fleshy looking round leaf that comes first) is much bigger than the little baby leaf. Curcubits (the family that all of these belong to) do not like to be transplanted, but will live, and produce if transplanted at a very early age.
Friends, relatives and co-workers are always happy to get veggie transplants...they'll take the extras.
You 'harden off' seedlings by taking them out on nice days...but do not...repeat...do not, put them in the full sun. Put them in a shaded, protected area for an hour or two each day. You can gradually increase the time outside and the sunshine till they live outside 24/7. Only bringing them in if frost is threatened.
The tomatoes, you can transplant them, burying them partway up the stem. They will grow roots all along the buried stem, make them much more robust.
All of them: you do have a desired final count, right? You can while away some time by thinning them. Snip off at the soil line the most pathetic looking seedlings. Do that every week or so until you reach your final count.
Run outside and plant peas where you intended to plant tomatoes. That'll keep you busy until the tomatoes should go in. The peas like cold weather, are fast, and they'll add nitrogen to the soil which the heavy-feeding tomatoes will like.
Pop the pots out to the shady side of the house whenever the air temp is over 50, and bring them back in when it starts to cool off. Fend the squirrels off with a stick.