Hardening Off Transplants
Give garden transplants a helping hand as they move from the warm humid greenhouse or inside your home to the harsh outdoors.
The transition to the outdoors can be hard on our garden transplants. You can make that transition easier and recovery quicker with a little extra effort on your part.
Start the process about one to two weeks prior to the recommended outdoor planting date. Move the transplants to a sheltered location near the warmth of your home, in the shade of a tree, or other protected spot.
Stop fertilizing and water as the soil starts to dry. Each day move the plants to a bit sunnier location. And don’t rush the process – or your plants will be sunburned.
Move the plants indoors or cover when temperatures drop. I like to cheat a bit. I use floating row covers to reduce my workload, while helping the plants transition to the outdoors. After two weeks your plants will be ready for their permanent location outdoors.
Just a bit more information: Save time and your back when moving transplants in and out of a frost-free shelter. Place flats of transplants in a child’s wagon, plastic sled or swimming pool. Simply pull or slide the plant-filled item into the garage or sheltered area when temperatures drop. And with a simple tug your transplants can be slid back outdoors into the warmth and sunshine the following day.