how to harden off seedlings.

crazy plant lady tee.

Don’t you just love spring?  Especially when it finally shows up for real.  It’s takes awhile in New England, but it’s finally arrived here.  Our trees are getting their leaves back, the lawn is growing thick and green and I have been outside working in the yard or on our garden for at least a few hours everyday for the last couple weeks.  It’s been glorious.  Right now we are in the middle of building a new fence for our garden, last weekend we tilled up all our dirt and within the next couple weeks all my beautiful starts will be transplanted into that little plot of land.

So lets talk about one of the most important parts of starting seeds for the garden: hardening them off!  This is a super crucial step in your seedlings process and one you for sure do not want to skip.  Seeds that have been babied indoors need to acclimate to the harsher outdoor environment before the shock of transplanting.  It’s not difficult to harden off seedings it just requires a little attention and care, and I’ll walk you through the whole process here.

To begin to harden off your seedlings you will start by putting your seedlings outdoors roughly seven to 10 days before you plan to transplant them.  You’ll want to put the plants in a sheltered, shady spot outdoors, under a tree or on your back porch or even next to your house where they won’t be scorched by sunlight. Start by leaving them outdoors for three or four hours and gradually increase the time spent outside by one to two hours per day. (Yes, it’s a little high maintenance, but it’s worth it!

Bring the plants back indoors each night.

After two or three days of this, move the plants from their shady spot into the morning sun but return them to the shade in the afternoon. Too much direct sunlight will scorch the leaves so watch out for that.

If temperatures remain warm both day and night (at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit), the plants should be able to handle the sun all day and stay out at night after about seven days. Make sure the soil stays damp so the plants do get scorched if the weather suddenly turns warmer.

After seven to 10 days your plants are ready to transplant. Try to do so on a cloudy day and water well after planting.

Are you a crazy plant lady too?  Grab your tee here!

See how I planted my starts here!

See what I am planting in my cut flower garden this year here!

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