Tips for Hardening Off Seedlings

Hardening off seedlings is an important step before planting them out. It is he act of slowly allowing your baby plants to acclimate to living outdoors in the harshness of changing temperatures, wind, rain and sun. This is a much different living situation than in a sheltered greenhouse or indoors.

You should begin to harden off your seedlings 2 weeks before you want to plant them in the garden.

The first day, bring your plants outside, into a sheltered, shady area for a couple of hours, say 2-3 hours. Do NOT put them in full sun.

After 3 days of doing this in a sheltered area for a longer time each day, pull them into some gentle morning sun, for an hour or two.

So day 4 would look like this: 6-8 hours outside, 2 hours in the sun and 6 hours in the sheltered shady area.

Keep doing this slowly, until you have reached a point where they are outside, in the sun for the full day.

What happens if you don't harden off your plants correctly? Shock, wilting, withering, sun burn to the leaves, or even death. It can take them weeks to recover.

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