Ok, I have a question. This is the first time I have started seeds indoors. We planted in egg cartons. It’s been a week and the green beans and cucumbers are huge. How long can they stay in the egg cartons? I had no idea how fast they’d grow and thought I’d just go from the egg cartons to the ground in a few weeks. Now, it’s looking like I’ll have to transplant. What do you think?
I’d direct seed the green beans for sure and don’t usually transplant cukes. They don’t like to be transplanted, but transplant ok as long as you move the entire root ball intact into the final planting. It is best to do it early, before the plant has true leaves. I’ve never transplanted beans so I don’t have a clue (another blog post soon to follow). I assume you’d want to transplant early as well. Especially since you’ve got them in small areas. At least transplant them to a bigger pot.
If you start your cucumbers indoors, sow seed no more than 3 weeks before your projected transplant date, so the seedlings don’t get too large to transplant well. Peat pots or newspaper pots can be transplanted whole. You might want to harden them off before going into the garden. Transplants may take up to 10 days longer to bear fruit due to transplant stress.
One person online said: I kept losing my cucumbers (and squashes) before or during germination when I seeded direct. I turned to planting the seeds into APS type containers (others would work, too) just until the cotyledons were above the surface. The roots at that point were just trying to come out the bottom. I’d plant them out then, give them protection if needed, and they did way better. I’d pop the root and all the soil mix from the little container and put it in a good size hole to plant. It worked real well. I’ve found that the peat or other pots that are supposed to decompose still made a barrier to root outgrowth in the garden.
So – it wasn’t about time to harvest for me – it was about seedling survival. Once the plants start making leaves, the roots are so developed I think they’ll be very unhappy upon transplanting.
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