Monday, March 14, 2011

Cool-Weather Greens 2011: Hardening Off + Salad Ready (Already)

Hard to believe just two weeks ago we transplanted our tiny seed starts into these larger containers.

Yesterday we walked to Bruce's to pick up the results of two more weeks under light in a room-temperature house. Yow! They must have grown a third of an inch a day. Time-lapse photography would be fun here.

Next we'll take our hardy transplants and harden them off, a process nicely described here by Johnny's Seeds via Washington State University. (If you don't live in a cold-weather climate, I suspect the term is meaningless, but as noted at the link, hardening off is both a season extender and important for intensive gardening.)

These plants will be happier once acclimated to their preferred temperature range, about perfect right now in Chicago, with lows just above freezing.

Click to enlarge the
 beautiful joker lettuce...or is it jester?

Here's a side-by-side shot of seeds started on the same day--outdoors by me using the winter-sowing method (right) and indoors by Bruce. Quite a difference, though our still-tiny starts in the box will surge with the increased light.

Thanks, Bruce!


art and chel said...

Exciting!!! Are you going to have any of those black cherry tomatoes this year? Going to be taking pre-orders for seedlings?

Bruce said...

Hi Art,

I'll start a couple black cherry seedlings for you.