Five Weeks To Last Frost, The Moment You Find How Well Prepared You Are

We are five weeks to last frost! If you’re growing from seed, it’s usually right about now where you really see how well you planned things out. Some of you may be really struggling with way too many plants and not enough space. You might be looking at several more weeks before you can plant and be wondering how you’re gonna do it.

We’ve been there, more than a few times! All those cute little seedlings eventually become full blown plants. It’s really hard to plan out exactly how things will unfold, but the magnitude and pressure can eventually get pretty crazy!

If this is you, we usually recommend taking a step back and looking at your whole process to look at how you might improve it. But, that doesn’t help you right now with way too many plants and nowhere to put them! So, here’s some tips in case this is you!

Your seedlings don’t “need” light every single day. You can rotate your plants in and out from underneath your grow lights every day or two. The plants that don’t get the light can really go wherever you have space. As long as you get those plants a good 12-14 hours of light every couple days, they’ll be good.

For some of you, outdoor temperatures may now be sufficient to harden off and put *some* of your plants outside, too. Cold hardy plants are just that and will tolerate temperatures down to freezing. So, your broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, celery, onions, leeks and everything in the “cold hardy” world can get punted outdoors. If you do this, watch those minimum low temps (overnight) and bring them inside if temps are predicted much below freezing. (32F/0C, but even just slightly below that is OK, too.) Many seasons support having cold hardy plants outside for nearly a month before that last frost!

There were many seasons where we’d bring our plants outdoors during the day and put them back inside at night when the daytime temps were decent. Again, overnight your plants can live in your bathroom, bedroom, kitchen and wherever else you’ve got space for them. It’s a lot of work, but was necessary before we had enough indoor growing space allocated to deal with the pressures. You can even alternate this technique in with the above one, should overnight temps get well below freezing.

It’s most important we protect those frost sensitive and warm loving plants at this point, giving them preferential access to our protected indoor environment. These plants are just not going to enjoy the cooler days and nights of spring. For frost sensitive plants, we can usually have them outside when day and night temperatures are above 40F degrees. For those warm loving plants, we exclusively look at days above 50F degrees. It’s fairly rare we can get those warm loving plants outside much sooner than our last frost, so they’re usually the very last plants to get kicked outside.

We really appreciate the planning and thoughtfulness that goes into raising plants from seed indoors, it’s definitely not one of the easiest skills to develop!

And, if terms like cold hardy, frost tolerant and warm loving are throwing you for a loop, we’ve an excellent guide for you down in the comments that will help you out a bunch!

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