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pumpkins, squash, and watermelons! also – when to move from grow lights to natural light

Yay – I’m finally to that point where everything that will be started in doors has been planted!  The last to go in were the quick-growing pumpkins (sweet and jock-o-lantern), mountaineer squash, zucchini, yellow crook neck squash, and watermelons.  In less than a week, those babies had sprouted and developed enough of a root system that I had to transplant them in to large containers – crazy!

Now that all the starts are in, I thought I’d post a little about “what ‘s next?” in terms of  what you do once you have plants with real leaves that are anywhere from 2 – 4 inches tall depending on the plant.  When your starts have progressed to that point, you’ll probably need to a) gently transplant them out of the egg carton/ starter containers and in to larger pots and b) prevent them from getting leggy by transferring them to a “harsher” light source.  (By “harsh” I simply mean less engineered – you want to help the plant transition from an “ideal” light source to the “real” light source they will be experiencing once they are in the ground.)

Transplanting – Choose a container that will give your plant more room to develop their root systems and fill it with potting soil/ the same soil you started the plants in (see my recommendations here).  You can plant multiple plants in the same container but make sure that you don’t plant them so close that they have no room to grow/ that they block each others’ sun exposure.  You can transplant “up” as the plants grow so don’t stress about needing to accommodate full-sized plants right away.  Work your way up!

Changing the light source – The best way to do this is to simply move them from the grow lights to a window sill/ anywhere indoors where they will get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.  This transition will cause the plants to stop shooting upwards and allow them to get in to a more normal grow pattern.  Plants will grow towards the light source so make sure you rotate the containers to prevent the plants from growing in only one direction.  Keep watering the plants regularly when you notice the soil is dry.

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2 comments on “pumpkins, squash, and watermelons! also – when to move from grow lights to natural light

  1. Katrina
    April 26, 2012

    Guess that means I’d better start my honeydews! I have tomatoes, peppers, onions, and herbs growing like crazy but I’ve been waiting awhile to start the honeydew melons because I don’t have much room and they seem to spread out fast!

  2. Hey Katrina – Luckily in my experience, melons grow slower and more condensly than squash, pumpkins, etc. They are by far the smallest of the plants I mentioned above so you might be ok :) Happy planting and let me know how they do!

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This entry was posted on April 26, 2012 by in montana gardening journal and tagged , , , .

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