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Sun Apr 1, 2012, 08:50 AM

Is it silly to use a fan?

I'm hoping to get an A frame that my husband built long ago, up to start some seedlings today. He's been sick so its been longer than we've wanted, but even if we get a make-shift start, I'm determined to get it going. We haven't done so in quite a few years. Mostly we've gone straight seed in the garden beds, or we've bought plants at the garden center.

One of the problems with the plants from the center has occasionally been that they are not "hardened off". We get them nicely planted in the garden, but their little stems, unused to the wind will warp or once in a while snap in the first good strong wind. I don't want that to happen to our plants. However, I may not have the time to drag our plants in and out as I would like as they mature to re-planting size. So I had perhaps a silly idea...

Is it possible that setting up a fan to blow from various directions at various strengths of speed will help avoid this problem? That is often easier for me to adjust (I often work from 7 through 7) after I am home than bringing them in or moving them all out etc. Any advice?

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Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply Is it silly to use a fan? (Original post)
Ruby Reason Apr 2012 OP
Arkansas Granny Apr 2012 #1
Viva_La_Revolution Apr 2012 #2
Denninmi Apr 2012 #3
Ruby Reason Apr 2012 #4

Response to Ruby Reason (Original post)

Sun Apr 1, 2012, 09:34 AM

1. I have never thought of doing that before, but apparently others have.

When I googled it I got a bunch of hits that might help you out.

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=use+fan+to+harden+off+plants&oq=use+fan+to+harden+off+plants&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_l=serp.12...0l0l0l129284l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0ll0l0.llsin.&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=21da4024e5550b9f&biw=1280&bih=695

One thing I noticed about using a fan is that you need to be especially careful that your plants don't dry out.

Good Luck!

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Response to Ruby Reason (Original post)

Sun Apr 1, 2012, 11:12 AM

2. just use a rotating fan

and move it around every few days. You'll strengthen the stems, and the air flow cuts way down on damping-off, molds and pests.
Is it an A-frame covered in plastic? maybe it would be easier to cover or uncover the whole thing instead of moving the plants around?

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Response to Ruby Reason (Original post)

Sun Apr 1, 2012, 01:17 PM

3. Not silly at all. It's S.O.P. in commercial floriculture.

You HAVE to have good airflow in greenhouses. Lack of airflow causes all kinds of problems -- allows disease organisms to grow, makes plants weak, floppy, soft, and tender as you have found out.

Even a small household fan set on low speed is enough in a small greenhouse is enough to harden plants. Basically, set it so that, at plant level, you can feel just a little air moving across the foliage. The plants don't need to feel like they're in a hurricane zone!

You may need to move the fan to different areas to allow all of the plants to get the benefit. Commercial operations use what are known as "fan jets" or "power tubes" that assure even air flow throughout the entire greenhouse growing area: http://www.greenhousemegastore.com/category/fan-jets-power-tubes

Be sure to use a ground fault circuit plug for safety when using fans or other electric equipment in damp/moist environments (any hardware will sell these).

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Response to Ruby Reason (Original post)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 07:51 AM

4. Super, thanks so much. Maybe I'm better at this stuff than I think.

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