Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hardening Off Cole Crops and Leeks

Since we are a little short for space, I think it is time for the 2 week old cabbages, kale, and collards to find a new home and give up their pampered life under the lights. I began hardening them off yesterday. I set them out in the shade for a few hours and will increase the amount of time each day, moving them into the sun a few days before planting and leaving them out all night (protected) the night before planting. It is supposed to be overcast but in the 50s next Wednesday so that is when I am hoping to get them in the ground. For cold-protection for the little guys I plan to have some hoops put up over the raised beds. I found some tubing at our local construction-goods-recycling center/store that I am going to cover with a row cover. The row cover I purchased through Johnny Selected Seeds is AG-19, which will hopefully offer 4 degrees of protection from frosts. More on that once I get the hoops up. Here are some photos of the happy seedlings. They are still in the original size pots I seeded them in. The pots are various sizes and materials, but none smaller than 2" across and deep. The pots contain a soil-less mix of coir:vermiculite:perlite (2:1:1) and I fertilized them with foliar sprays of seaweed (for nitrogen and trace minerals) and fish emulsion (smells great! for root-building phosphorous) once their true leaves appeared.

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