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Old July 10, 2017   #1
Salaam
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Default Temporarily converting Earthtainer to cold frame

Hello all,

I have five Earthtainers on the south (and slightly east) brick wall of my house and was thinking my next project would be to try and use these as cold frames to grow seedlings (probably tomatoes, kale, peppers, zucchini) next spring. Perhaps just using some flexible PVC pipes, plastic, and maybe a small source of heat.

My first question is - will I be able to get adequate seedlings - better than those at the store? My only experience growing tomatoes and peppers from seed was indoor under lights (I can't do that now because of space issues), and that was a success, but in the cool spring outdoors with 8-10 hours of sun at best, I'm not sure what quality seedlings I'd get.

Any thoughts - what type of plastic to use, etc.

By the way, I would use 32 ounce yogurt containers for the seedlings, as I found these to be the perfect size for the size of seedlings I want to grow. (I don't re-pot.)

Thanks!
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Old July 10, 2017   #2
carolyn137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salaam View Post
Hello all,

I have five Earthtainers on the south (and slightly east) brick wall of my house and was thinking my next project would be to try and use these as cold frames to grow seedlings (probably tomatoes, kale, peppers, zucchini) next spring. Perhaps just using some flexible PVC pipes, plastic, and maybe a small source of heat.

My first question is - will I be able to get adequate seedlings - better than those at the store? My only experience growing tomatoes and peppers from seed was indoor under lights (I can't do that now because of space issues), and that was a success, but in the cool spring outdoors with 8-10 hours of sun at best, I'm not sure what quality seedlings I'd get.

Any thoughts - what type of plastic to use, etc.

By the way, I would use 32 ounce yogurt containers for the seedlings, as I found these to be the perfect size for the size of seedlings I want to grow. (I don't re-pot.)

Thanks!
If you put the seeds directly in those yogurt containers and don't repot,what you get are seedlings with tap roots,but what you want is a fibrous root structure and to pot up even once will give you that.

http://soilandhealth.org/wp-content/...010137toc.html

Scroll down until you come to the chapter on tomato.

Hope that helps.

All of the basic traits of tomatoes were worked out in the 20's and 30's and you can see that this article was written in 1927.

Carolyn
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Old July 11, 2017   #3
MadScientist
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Fascinating article Carolyn--thanks for posting. Looks like root disruption does cause a much more fibrous root system, (as you point out) but that overall yield is ultimately improved by minimizing transplanting and root disruption? Heres the quote I am looking at:

"Since the root system is disturbed and the development of the plant more or less checked at each transplanting, it might be concluded that plants grown from seed sown directly in pots or other containers would grow more vigorously and give a higher yield than those once or twice transplanted. In fact this has been shown by numerous investigations to be the case. That transplanting in itself does not promote an early crop nor an increased yield has been also clearly demonstrated. In an experiment in Wisconsin

'three crops of tomatoes were grown . . . In each case seeds were planted singly in 6-inch pots in the greenhouse; when the plants were about 2 inches in height, two-thirds of the whole number were dug up and reset in the same pots; later, one-half of these were again transplanted in a similar manner. As soon as weather permitted, 10 plants of each lot were knocked from the pots and set 4 by 8 feet apart in open ground, every precaution being taken to avoid injury to the roots.'

Those not transplanted yielded more than those once transplanted, while those twice transplanted yielded least. The total for 10 plants with each treatment during a 3-year period was, 1,175, 1,131, and 1,001 pounds, respectively.
"

Seems like the conventional wisdom is to transplant--am I misunderstanding?

Aaron
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Old July 12, 2017   #4
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Yes Carolyn, that is a fascinating article. I saved it to my favorites, thanks for posting it.
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