When to Plant Outside

Uncle Eckley

Extreme Member
Need some hand holding here.  What am I waiting for exactly before moving outside?  Last freeze?  Frost?  Some minimum nighttime low temperature?  I'm running out of space under my indoor grow light pretty quickly now and will need to make some unanticipated changes if I'm waiting several more weeks to go outside.  If I'm reading these almanac charts correctly, I'm not safe until the end of April?  That seems late..
 
Ideally, you want overnight lows to be 50+. In 6a, I don't plant out until the 3rd week of May now. Spring is very inconsistent and winters go longer, spring never really appears. I run out of room, too, but it's easier to keep them in (the house or greenhouse, depending on the temps) than having to cloche them every night it falls below 50. 
 
Uncle_Eccoli said:
1. If I'm reading these almanac charts correctly, I'm not safe until the end of April? 
 
2. What am I waiting for exactly before moving outside?
 
1. As you're in USDA Hardiness Zones 7b I would follow that late April to early May is last frost date and be cautious of that.
 
2. I have always followed the rule that peppers don't like cold feet ----- so the rule I followed was soil temp should be 50°F before sticking their roots in the ground. The only penalty is plants tend to be lethargic under these less than ideal conditions setting them back a bit.

As always, YMMV....
 

Sizzle Lips

Extreme Member
Im in zone 6a and dont even think of putting plants in the ground until the May24 long weekend...and even then you have to watch the long range forecast.
I like my plants out in the portable greenhouse for a couple weeks prior to that to start the hardening off process.....just make sure there is no risk of frost or all your hard work is lost in a night.
 

Harry_Dangler

Extreme Member
6a here as well.  My plants won't go in the ground until Mid May at the earliest.  Tomatoes go in early May ..... peppers 1-2 weeks later.  Each will be hardened in the barn or the garden shed for at least 1-2 weeks prior.   
 
I won't start plants sales or giveaways until Mid May.  I hate to offer plants early and see them planted only to be killed by a freak frost.  
 

luvmesump3pp3rz

Extreme Member
along with waiting till no chance of frost will occur, the indoor plants need to be "hardened off". there are plenty of articles online to read on the process. briefly, it is moving plants outdoors on nicer days in partial sunlight for a short amount of time. each day you increase the time till they adjust to being outside. you can do this when it is warm enough during the day but still too cold to leave them out at night. this should be done for a couple of weeks up till planting.  if you buy plants at a big box store they have been hardened off already. 
 
the thing about last frost date is it's an average and that average is over the past 30 years... weather varies significantly from year to year. How significant? two years ago i planted out April 10th, the following year we had several inches of snow on that date!
I just watch the weather and keep an observation over how the weather has been trending over the past couple weeks.
I look back at previous observations and keep an eye on the lowest temperature recorded in the last 2-3 weeks. if my last frost date was April 20th and the temps were below 40 a week prior, i likely would hold off until the temp has not dropped below 45 in at least 2 weeks straight.
 
weather is more predicable keeping an eye on how its been trending, not how it's been trending over 30 years ;-)
 
This last fall I purchased a small, mobile greenhouse on sale. I've never used a green house before so forgive my ignorance. When I harden of the plants I have currently growing indoors, do I have to harden from house to greenhouse or greenhouse to full outdoors and in the ground? I'm guessing it's from the house to the greenhouse but I figured I'd ask anyway lol....
 

skullbiker

Extreme Member
FITN said:
This last fall I purchased a small, mobile greenhouse on sale. I've never used a green house before so forgive my ignorance. When I harden of the plants I have currently growing indoors, do I have to harden from house to greenhouse or greenhouse to full outdoors and in the ground? I'm guessing it's from the house to the greenhouse but I figured I'd ask anyway lol....
I don’t know others experience, but I go from basement to greenhouse and after a week to ten days in there they go out into open air full time.
 
skullbiker said:
I dont know others experience, but I go from basement to greenhouse and after a week to ten days in there they go out into open air full time.
So really, the greenhouse time technically is the hardening off period? If that's the case, that's WAY easier then the couple hours a day, take them outside then bring them back in, method.
 

skullbiker

Extreme Member
FITN said:
So really, the greenhouse time technically is the hardening off period? If that's the case, that's WAY easier then the couple hours a day, take them outside then bring them back in, method.
I personally found that once you have more than a couple dozen plants that hauling them in and out daily was a big PITA. I love my greenhouse![emoji3590][emoji3590][emoji3590]
 

Sizzle Lips

Extreme Member
I have a portable walk in green house that i set up in a partially shaded area that i use just for about 2-3 weeks.
I set this up and bring all my plants from the basement....then i can move them from green house to sunshine during the day a lot easier....and also protect from the elements at night until they have been hardened off and no chance of getting any frost....has worked great for me....then take it down and pack it back into the shed.
 
skullbiker said:
I personally found that once you have more than a couple dozen plants that hauling them in and out daily was a big PITA. I love my greenhouse![emoji3590][emoji3590][emoji3590]
It's a huge pain in that @$$! I have always dreaded hardening off. That's some of the best new I've heard in a while!
 
Sizzle Lips said:
I have a portable walk in green house that i set up in a partially shaded area that i use just for about 2-3 weeks.
I set this up and bring all my plants from the basement....then i can move them from green house to sunshine during the day a lot easier....and also protect from the elements at night until they have been hardened off and no chance of getting any frost....has worked great for me....then take it down and pack it back into the shed.
That's exactly what I have and exactly what I plan on doing. I think my green house is 8x10. It should work great and save me a bunch of work!
 

Uncle Eckley

Extreme Member
Sizzle Lips said:
I have a portable walk in green house that i set up in a partially shaded area that i use just for about 2-3 weeks.
I set this up and bring all my plants from the basement....then i can move them from green house to sunshine during the day a lot easier....and also protect from the elements at night until they have been hardened off and no chance of getting any frost....has worked great for me....then take it down and pack it back into the shed.
 
See if I'm reading this right.. You go outside into a greenhouse two to three weeks "early?"  Out of the greenhouse in sunshine while it's warm during the day, then back into the greenhouse overnight to keep them out of the still too-cold temps?   
 

Sizzle Lips

Extreme Member
Uncle_Eccoli said:
 
See if I'm reading this right.. You go outside into a greenhouse two to three weeks "early?"  Out of the greenhouse in sunshine while it's warm during the day, then back into the greenhouse overnight to keep them out of the still too-cold temps?   
 

Exactly.....I move to the greenhouse when temps are reasonable...usually a couple weeks before I put them in my garden and in my 5 gallon buckets.....then wait them to do their thing.
 

Uncle Eckley

Extreme Member
Sizzle Lips said:
 
Exactly.....I move to the greenhouse when temps are reasonable...usually a couple weeks before I put them in my garden and in my 5 gallon buckets.....then wait them to do their thing.
 
Kuhl.  Heat the greenhouse?  How much of a temperature pad do you get at night?  One of these cheapo tube and PE sheeting jobs?  I want to get these guys in the sun!
 
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