Shop Now!

Categories

Hardening Off Seed-Grown Plants in the Spring

Pepper SeedYou’ve your seeds sprout, grow true leaves and get taller. In your controlled environment, your ind00r-started seedlings have enjoyed a relatively stress-free life, protected from the heat, cold, wind and rain. Without elemental exposure, your little seedlings lack the hardiness to be successfully transplanted; but you can change all that by starting the hardening-off process on your own.

Hardening off takes two weeks, and entails gradually exposing your tender seedlings to the elements until they can be transplanted and live outside comfortably.

Beginning the Process

Start the hardening-off process two weeks before the seed’s outside planting date, which is dependent on the hardiness of the plant and the last frost date in your area. Once you’ve determine the date, begin by setting your seeds  outside for a couple hours during the day in an area that’s shielded form sun and wind. Direct sun is a definite no-no for young seedlings at this stage, because it will burn the tender leaves. Remember to bring your seedlings in at night. Over the following days, you may increase the time your plants go outside, but do so gradually.

Your Seedlings are Almost Ready

After a few days of gradual and protected outside exposure, you can step up your efforts a notch. Leave your plants out longer and put them in sunnier, cooler, and windier spots. Although some evidence suggests that tomatoes respond well to fertilization at this point, generally it’s not a good idea to feed or overwater your plants right now – remember, you’re trying to toughen them up!

Tunlcover™ Plant ProtectorReady, Set, Grow!

After two weeks of increasing exposure, it’s time to plant them for good. Water the ground thoroughly, and dig a hole just a few inches deeper than the pot in which your seedlings are currently residing. Holding your seedling by the stem, place the seedling in the hole and cover it gently with soil. Once the hole is filled, create a depression around the rim of the plant where water can collect. Be sure to water frequently and to fertilize after this final step. If your weather turns nasty, you can protect your seeds with sun shields, wind blocks, or Gurney’s cold covers.

You’ve your seeds sprout, grow true leaves and get taller. In your controlled environment, your seedlings have enjoyed a relatively stress-free life, protected from the heat, cold, wind and rain. Without elemental exposure, your little seedlings lack the hardiness to be successfully transplanted; but you can change all that by starting the hardening-off process on your own.

2 comments to Hardening Off Seed-Grown Plants in the Spring

  • Thanks for this article! I’ve been looking for a good way to harden-off my seed-grown plants, and this process sounds pretty simple. I think I’m going to start this weekend. Just out of curiosity, how much are the Tunlcover Plant Protectors?

    -Danielle
    Writer, Enviroselects.com

  • [...] It is Almost Spring Time here in Alabama! You can tell because the Birds are beginning to return.  …t very long. The weather has warmed up and of course the stormy weather as well.  Spring Time feels so good to be able to go outside without wearing a coat.  I am really getting Spring Fever and can't wait to go out and play in the dirt. [...]

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>