Certain seeds need to be started indoors. Once the seedlings are ready, you have to harden them off first before you can transfer them outdoors. Hardening off your seedlings will prepare them for the harsh outdoor environment and ensure their survival.
The process usually takes about 14 days (2 weeks) before they can finally be transplanted. Within this period, you should start hardening off your seedlings and slowly introduce them to the exterior garden environment.
As you do this, be more cautious and attentive to extreme weather temperatures, sunlight intensity levels, strong winds, and rain as well.
Heavy exposure to any of these elements may actually cause huge damage to young plants and stall their growth and development.
Learn the right way to harden off your seedlings by following these 3 simple steps below. Please don’t forget to tweet, pin and share this blog post with your fellow gardeners today!
How to Harden Off Seedlings in 3 Easy Steps!
Start introducing them to the outdoors under controlled conditions
– Put all of my seedling pots, trays, and soil blocks in plastic bins which act as mini greenhouses.
– Use bins with attached folding lids and somewhat see-through containers to let a bit of light in.
– Each, the bins must be placed on the covered patio for a few hours.
Gradually increase exposure to heat and cold, sunshine, wind, and rain
– Day by day, increase the outdoor time and how much sun and wind they receive. Water them as needed, but perhaps not as consistently.
– The first few days, bring the bins back indoors at night.
– After that, leave them outdoors all the time, closing the lids if temperatures dip near freezing.
– If frost is expected, they’ll come back indoors and stay in the coolest part of the house (the basement) overnight. The next morning, place them outside again.
– If the weather goes according to plan, after two weeks, the seedlings will be stronger, with thicker stems, ready for planting in the garden beds.
Plant seedlings outdoors
Outdoor planting time is not only determined by when your seedlings are strong enough, but by the signs and signals outdoors indicating that risk of frost has passed and the soil has warmed sufficiently.
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