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New to growing your own tomatoes? This is the forum to learn the successful techniques used by seasoned tomato growers. Questions are welcome, too.

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Old February 15, 2016   #61
bower
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I'm sure everyone's methods are a little different, but personally I take the seedlings from the heat mat as soon as the cotyledons are free of the seed, and I put them in cell pack with a tiny pinch of bone meal to ensure that the necessary nutrients are available.
I don't have temperature control really other than moving seedlings to a warmer area, so they probably (or surely) get more cold exposure than the average deliberately 'cold treated' plants. One thing about the cold is that moisture requirements are much less. So I water the seedlings infrequently and only when they are visibly dry. This is potentially a problem with the liquid fertilizer regime,because I don't want to flood my seedlings or leave them in wet soil when they're too cold to take it up. I used promix last year and really didn't like it, it got very soggy and stayed wet too long after watering for my liking. I will be switching back to a mix of peat and compost, where I don't need any ferts other than the pinch of bone meal.
The other advantage of dry ferts for me is that all the seedlings get the same amount, where my watering tends to be uneven - I'd be lying if I said I could water them evenly, and I'm not set up to do bottom watering especially with the concern about overwatering in cold conditions. All my seedlings have excellent roots, so the bone meal method works for me.
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Old February 16, 2016   #62
greenthumbomaha
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Great tip. I have bone meal on hand. Thank you for sharing.

- Lisa
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Old October 13, 2016   #63
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I had no idea about that method and how effective it is. Thank you for sharing.
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Old October 21, 2016   #64
chalstonsc
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My pleasure, enjoy
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Old January 21, 2017   #65
Ricky Shaw
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An excellent thread here on cold treatment, well worth the time to read it all. I had cold treated some of my seedling last year and felt those plants on average took off better and set more early fruit.

I don't start seedlings for outdoors till April, but have been testing seed and media this month and thought I'd share a some before and after pics of 2wks of cold treatment. This might help some in estimating how much earlier they may need to start if cold treating.

These are Crnkovic Yugoslavian seedling packs separated at the first emergence of true leaves Jan7 and today Jan21, all T5 lighting.



(left) cold treatmented: 12/12 light, ~57F days , ~50F nights

(right) traditional seedlings: ~75F and 24/7 lights week1 and 18/6 week2
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Last edited by Ricky Shaw; January 21, 2017 at 02:11 PM.
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Old January 21, 2017   #66
chalstonsc
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SWEET....
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Old February 5, 2017   #67
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Couple of weeks later with all plants on 16hrs of light and the cold treated Crnkovic's (right) have caught up to their siblings. (left 3 plants)

I'm not really seeing any need to start cold treated plants any earlier and the 5 week mark is about right for starting my seedlings whether cold treating or not.
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Old February 5, 2017   #68
bower
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They look great, Ricky.
I missed the cold treatment last year and I regretted it...
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Old February 13, 2017   #69
chalstonsc
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Bower,

Good to hear from you again

I'm missing my cold treatment routine this year, and so it goes....

Maybe I'm not too late per most recent post?

Tom
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Old February 13, 2017   #70
bower
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chalstonsc View Post
Bower,

Good to hear from you again

I'm missing my cold treatment routine this year, and so it goes....

Maybe I'm not too late per most recent post?

Tom
Hey Tom, I think it's still worthwhile at any stage of seedlings. I usually put them right into the cold as soon as they've sprouted, but if I couldn't do that, I would still try and cool it down a bit later on.

I know the regimen that Ami described is different from what I've done, and maybe not as cold either, nor as prolonged. But last year I started my seedlings upstairs in a warmer room (closer to 70 F or at least 65F most of the time) and let them enjoy all the heat in the south windows as well when the sun came out. They definitely got too leggy before it was time to plant, and they had more cold stress when I did put them out. The usual cold room, temperature in that window at night would be closer to 50 F - which is as good as they get after transplant here anyhow!
How big are your seedlings, and what do you usually do with them?
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