Seedlings take the trip outside

15 flats of assorted vegetables and flowers have been nestled under fluorescent lights in my basement for the past few weeks. I decided today was the day for them to move out and find a home of their own. I did suggest residence under a make shift hoop house in the backyard.

My hoop house is standard 1/2 inch PVC pipe and the cover is a sheet of thick plastic sheeting. I bought mine in the paint department of Home Depot and it has lasted about 5 years to date. The hoop house serves a couple of purposes. Firstly, it protects the seedlings from damaging storms and hail. I have lost numerous flats of plants due to heavy rains. Secondly, the plastic is opaque enough that it helps to shade the tender plants. I don’t technically, harden off my plants. I find it incredibly tedious to move plants in and out of the house over the period of  a week or so to acclimatize the plants to the outdoor conditions. Instead I use the hoop house. I can take the sheet completely off during the day for a few hours, gradually increasing the time the are exposed to the light. This will help to prevent the plants becoming sunburned. I also can provide a warm environment on cooler evenings, by pulling the sheet all the way down to the ground.

On a being frugal note, I keep the plastic sheeting tied back by using large binder clips. The 1 inch size, works quite nicely for 1/2 inch pvc and is much cheaper than the “snap clamps” being sold for this purpose. I also make use of heavy rocks and logs to hold the ends down. Quite high tech.

Some photos are included below. I also included a picture of an Iris that is currently blooming along with Horseradish in bloom. Strange enough, the Horseradish blooms are both beautiful as well as pleasantly fragrant. Lastly, the sad looking plants in the 4 inch containers are sunflowers that were dug up from volunteers growing all over the garden. My dad over the past couple of years, has shown me how durable these plants are. They will look horrible for a day or so, but recover very quickly.