Wind, cold or hot temperatures and sun scalding are all potential threats that can shock or even kill your baby seedlings. store cart, you may think that since the tiny plants have grown a few inches and 3. Hardening off is the process of slowly acclimating seedlings to the environmental stress of being grown outdoors. Stop indoor watering or fertilizing. ground stakes that will be placed around the bed to secure the cover. Hardening off seedlings isn’t really that hard at all, it just takes patience and discipline. Place the plants in a sheltered, shady spot outdoors. You’ve babied your seedlings for weeks from the comfort of your home, and you need to get them ready to set their roots in your garden bed. You can start to harden off seedlings outside anytime after they have grown their second set of leaves and the threat of frost is past. 3. Begin 7 – 14 days before you plan to transplant them to your garden. Without this vital step it is all too easy to lose precious plants or have them wilt from the sudden change in conditions between a warm windowsill and a draughty garden. This post will discuss what hardening off is, why it is important, and how to do it. Mid to late afternoon, move your seedlings to your hardening off spot, just for an hour or two. Those Harden off seedlings to toughen them up for transplanting outdoors. Place seedlings and plants into the structure for a couple of hours on the first day, then gradually increase the length of time they are in place by two or more hours per day. When you harden off vegetable and flower seedlings that began life indoors (thanks to you or a commercial grower), you help the seedlings acclimate gradually to the brighter light and cooler temperatures of the outside world. Hardening off seedlings gradually exposes the tender plants to the wind, sun, and rain. Please double check your email address. To harden off your seedlings, gradually introduce them to the outdoors. Start by leaving them outdoors for three or four hours and gradually increase the time spent outside by one to two hours per day. Place the stakes, or heavy objects around the perimeter of the bed. You can also use row covers to offer extra security and warmth if there’s a hard rain or cold-weather day. Move the flats of seedlings outdoors during the day, and bring them indoors at night. It is the process of gradually introducing seedlings started indoors to the much harsher conditions of the garden outside. Hardening off is the process of gradually getting your plants ready for a more difficult outdoor environment. As bright as any indoor grow lights might be, none compare to direct sunlight. Hardening off seedlings helps young plants to make the adjustment to outdoor conditions gradually. Not sure how to construct a row cover? There are three approaches to hardening off plants: Hardening Off Vegetable Seedlings. But don’t jump too quickly from planting container to garden shovel. Hardening off seedlings is the process in which you are slowly exposing your indoor seedlings to the outside. Choose your first hardening off spot. Adding mulch t…, Grow all the vegetables and herbs you need for a tasty salad in one spot. I'm hardening them off in the shade first and will then move them into a sunnier spot. If your seedlings show signs of wilting, give them a light sprinkle of water. You should, moreover, even harden off seedlings that you buy from the garden center if they had just recently come from the greenhouse where they were raised because greenhouse conditions are very different from outdoor conditions. The good news is that two weeks is usually a long enough period to ensure your seeds are toughened up sufficiently. will be much harder on your seedlings that the sheltered, controlled environment of the indoors. If you’re new to starting your own seeds or have just-purchased sprouts in your Once the overnight temps are above 50 degrees you could leave them outside. Most seedlings have been sheltered inside or in a greenhouse, and they aren’t ready just yet for the harsh conditions of life outdoors. I move my seedlings to a portable cold frame on about day 3 of hardening them off. Planting in the Garden Hardening off seedlings is probably the most important concept that new gardeners can grasp to improve successful transplants. Whether you’ve got seedlings you’ve nurtured yourself, or ones that you’ve bought Here they have grown up so well indoors, being pampered by you for months! Most seedlings have been sheltered inside or in a greenhouse, and they aren’t ready just yet for the harsh conditions of life outdoors. So let’s take a look at what it is and why it is such a crucial step. Once they start to wilt, you can water them and then wait for them to wilt again. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. Hardening-off seedlings is relatively easy to do. This avoids damage or death for plants by making a slow transition to outdoor conditions. Below is a chart of commonly planted vegetables and their classification of frost tolerance https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/ho/ho-203.html. Be flexible when hardening off your seedlings and prepare to whisk them indoors or cover them if there is a late freeze or snow. Typically a hand shovel works. Hardening off your seedlings will gently acclimate them to your yard’s micro climate. Also monitor temperatures carefully; unexpected temperature dips are rare but do happen, and you may need to cover some plants to protect them. Check your frost dates, some seedlings like onions could be ok hardening off while you are still getting frosts. toughening them up by thickening the cuticle on the leaves so they lose less water when exposed to the elements. Here’s what to do: 1. Onion seedlings hardening off before going into the garden. Pick a calm day when the temperatures are close to those in the seedling’s current environment. Materials – plastic or spunbound material that is 1-2’ larger then the bed and University of Maryland Extension, Marie Iannotti is an author, photographer, and speaker with 27 years of experience as a Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator and Master Gardener, The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Too much sun can stress them even more. Hardening off tomato seedlings in the presence of chaweenies vastly reduces the number of tomato seedlings available as fodder for cut worms and is a profound pain in the proximal pubic protuberance. How to Harden Off Seedlings. To harden off your seedlings, simply move them outdoors for 1-2 hours for a few days. Make sure the soil doesn't dry in their small pots and bake the plants if the weather should suddenly turn warmer. The true joy of starting your own seeds comes when you can finally transplant those flowers, vegetables, and plants into the garden. After two or three days, move the plants from their shady spot into the morning sun but return them to the shade in the afternoon. One important time hardening off should be practiced is when seeds are started indoors to get a head start on the growing season. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you prepare your seedlings for transplanting: Wait until your seedlings are ready. While hardening off doesn’t take a lot of time, it does involve some vigilance. Fill the hole to the plant’s root line. (Don’t know what to look for when buying seedlings? Anxious to kick my gardening into high Hardening is the process of exposing transplants (seedlings) gradually to outdoor conditions. ‘Hardening off’ is the process of gradually acclimatizing indoor-sown plants to outdoor conditions. If you buy your seedlings from a garden centre, this process (hopefully) has already been done. Under a tree or even on your back porch is fine. Plants cultivated outdoors generally grow more slowly but have more durable stems and leaves. Hardening off seedlings helps them to get used to varying temperature, sunlight, wind, and water outside so that they can survive after transplant. Hardening Off Your Plants. I’ve been there. When you harden off seedlings, you are toughening them up by acclimating them to life outdoors over a period of several days. 4. toughening them up by thickening the cuticle on the leaves so they lose less water when exposed to the elements. Suddenly moving plants from a stable environment to one with wide variations in temperature, light and wind can seriously weaken plants. Make sure that the plants aren’t getting bashed around by the wind, and are protected from any pests or animals. Ideally, this process takes one to two weeks, and it involves taking your plants outside for a few hours each day. But there are other cases, too where you will want to harden off a plant in spring before keeping it outdoors for the summer. You may only ever start one flower or vegetable from seeds, or you may decide growing your own plants is worth the time and house space. Light frost won’t harm these seedlings after these are hardened off. Transitioning seedlings from growing inside to … During the day, set your plants outside, preferably on a mild and partly sunny day and let them get used to being outside. ‘Hardening off’ is the vital process of getting seedlings ready for the big outdoors. Bonus points if this area is near the garden where you will plant them. The Hardening Off Process for Home Grown Seedlings. Out in the garden, it’s a whole new world, that can cause your young tender plants to go into shock. Your seedlings need some protection from wind and sun during their first hours outside. They haven’t learned all the ins and outs of that delicate dance from hand-holding to full steam ahead. When choosing an area to set them out, it would be best to carry out the process in a sheltered location that will be easy to move your plants from shade to sun, and blocked from high winds. from the local nursery, those plants need a helping hand in order to grow well This transition is known as hardening off. ‘Hardening off’ is the vital process of getting seedlings ready for the big outdoors. In order to give plants a chance to grow from seed to mature, fruit-bearing plant, gardeners need to start plants indoors during the winter and transplant them outside once the temperatures are warm in the spring. I already put the lettuce seedlings (the ones I up-potted in the last post) in the ground last week and they’re doing pretty good! Hardening off seedlings ensures their successful transition. after a cold winter. Starting about two weeks before your transplant date, stop watering your seedlings until they start to wilt. Hardening Off Vegetable Seedlings Back to Seedling Care. It encourages a change from soft, succulent growth to a firmer, harder growth. varying levels of sunlight, wind—to enable healthy growth. If you buy your seedlings from a garden centre, this process (hopefully) has already been done. About a week before your seedlings will go outside, suspend any supplemental watering or plant food. When you have a seedling that has been growing in a controlled indoor environment, you can’t suddenly put that seedling outside in the ground. If they’re in a cold frame, close and secure the opening. At the end of the first day’s hardening off time, put your seedlings back inside. Turn off heating cables and/or open the cold frame cover for longer periods of time each day. When you harden off your seedlings, they will be able to tolerate light and unexpected frosts with minimum damage. The tip on watering, I still have the tendency to over water not only my seedlings but everything in the garde. 5. During this time, your plants are getting thicker and sturdier, better able to adapt to summertime extremes. Kelly is an accomplished writer, content creator, digital strategist, and expert story-teller! Here’s what to do: 1. Hardening off seedlings can be a bit of a challenge because of UV exposure simply fries the leaves. Plants already endure a big shock when they go from pot to ground. Especially when you have an unpredicitable growing season. Hardening off describes slowly exposing newly grown vegetables, fruits, and flowers to the elements—changing temperatures, Simply put, hardening off is the act of slowly allowing your baby plants, to grow accustomed to living outdoors. Check your seedlings’ frost dates. Some plants—onions, for example—may be OK to harden off while there’s still a risk... 2. Hardening Off Your Plants. Oops! Hardening off seedlings helps to ensure they make a smooth, successful transition to their new home – your garden! Seedlings raised indoors are used to easy conditions, so they need a gradual transition to the outdoors. This helps reduce stress and encourage success once they go outside. Like a toddler, those newborn plants need an extra step in their growing cycle. It is the process of exposing them, little-by-little, to the elements. Our Garden Planner uses data from your closest weather station to recommend when it’s safe to plant out, providing a helpful guide to work back from. As bright as any indoor grow lights might be, none compare to direct sunlight. With the extra wind and sun, the soil dries out quickly, you will need to check on them multiple times through the day. Stop adding water or fertilizer to the plants a week or 2 before you transplant seedlings to the outdoors. Seedlings raised indoors, in a greenhouse or just in a sheltered position are slowly introduced to their new growing conditions before planting. Start by placing them where they will receive indirect light such as in a greenhouse or under a porch or eave. Why Is It So Important to Harden off Seedlings? When choosing an area to set them out, it would be best to carry out the process in a sheltered location that will be easy to move your plants from shade to sun, and blocked from high winds. You want to slowly prepare that plant for the outdoors. The material needs to be 8’ longer then the bed. are typically unable to endure those cold extremes. Home » Gardening » Hardening-off seedlings. You have a couple of options including a shady spot against your home, a table under a tree, or inside a cold frame. Hardening off your plants is simply preparing them to transition out into the garden, your seedlings have been growing for the last couple weeks in the perfect temperature-controlled, no wind or heavy rain environment. An intermediate home, such as an unheated greenhouse or cold frame, is a great tool for hardening off. It is the process of exposing them, little-by-little, to the elements. Walk the perimeter to make sure material is secured. Wind, cold or hot temperatures and sun scalding are all potential threats that can shock or even kill your baby seedlings. 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. This process slows plant growth, causing the plants to […] Whether you grew them from seed or purchased them at a nursery, plants need some time to adjust before you plant them in the ground. As always, do so on a cloudy day and water well after planting. I would recommend that you watch closely to make sure your seedlings are getting enough water while you are hardening off. The length of time a seedling requires to harden off depends on the type of plants being grown and the temperature. Now it’s time to harden them off and get them ready for planting! Hardening off is the process of gradually getting your plants ready for a more difficult outdoor environment. Protect the seedlings from wind with a wooden board. Secure the material with the clamps on each side of the hoop. A keyhole g…, Raised gardening beds help save your back by eliminating the need to lean over. Mulching keeps your soil cool and moist by protecting it from the sun. If you opt to gradually expose your plants to longer periods of time outdoors, the moving in and out process can be made easier by putting your plants on a wagon or wheelbarrow and simply wheeling them into the garage for the night. Each day, leave your seedlings outside for an hour more than the previous day, gradually giving them more and more direct sunlight time. Your plants have … She's worked with Better Homes & Gardens, Kitchen & Bath Ideas, Volkswagen, and more. Here’s how to harden off your vulnerable vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Successfully Hardening Off Seedlings isn’t hard but it is an important step in gardening. For most plants, begin hardening off a week before the final frost date for your area. When growers start their seeds indoors during the winter (for spring planting) or summer months (for fall planting), the seeds are germinating and starting off their growth cycle in a controlled environment. “Take your seedlings to a protected location outside for one hour for the first day,” she said, “Do this each day for a … Read our, Common Mistakes Made While Growing Seeds Indoors, 3 Ways to Keep Tropical Plants All Winter, How To Grow Eggplant From Seed and in Containers, Vegetable Container Gardening for Beginners. Water as needed. Hardening off your seedlings is the vital step of acclimating them to the outdoors to assure their survival. Start with three or four hours and gradually increase the exposure time by one or two hours per day. Hardening off allows seedlings to acclimate to outdoor weather prior to transplanting. Put them on a table or somewhere animals cannot reach them. The hardening off process takes patience and time, but it is an essential part of outdoor gardening. The power of the sun and all of the elements (wind, rain, weather, drought, etc.) Who knew tomato seeds required, like bankers, air conditioning to work?. outdoors. Over time, you gradually lengthen the time that you leave them out. The entire process of hardening off will probably take about a week, depending on temperatures and conditions in your area. Neither of these are my strong suits, but hey it has to get done and so I do it. Hardening Off Plants. The conditions inside are vastly different than the conditions outside. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, Begin putting your seedlings outdoors about seven to 10 days before your actual. How to Harden Off Plants. Move your plants back indoors. Pick a cloudy day. In order to transition successfully from inside to outside, 7. So what exactly is hardening off, and why is it so important? posted April 24, 2012 by Sarah // 4 Comments » So, you planted your seedlings, then up-potted them already, right? Seedlings need to be gradually introduced to life outside in the garden beds. What is hardening off? There are many different row cover materials and styles. Hardening off plants is a process of getting your tender seedlings ready to go outside. Hardening-off seedlings. After a week they can then be left there overnight, so long as there’s no danger of frost. Begin by carefully transporting your seedlings to a somewhat sheltered location where they can get their first taste of what life outdoors is going to be like. Begin by moving them into a shady location and gradually move them into brighter and brighter light each day if you can. I move my seedlings to a portable cold frame on about day 3 of hardening them off. Hardening off your seedlings will gently acclimate them to your yard’s micro climate. Plants should be ready to transplant in seven to 10 days. Avoid transplant shock by hardening off your young spring plants. Hardening off translates into “toughening them up” for the great outdoors. Steps 1. It encourages a change from soft, succulent growth to a firmer, harder growth. Stop indoor watering or fertilizing. Hardening off plants is the processes of conditioning them to a new environment. It is taking slow, methodical steps to enable your small plants to become stronger and more resilient before hand. Get expert articles delivered straight to your inbox! As previously said, the process of hardening off seedlings should be done gradually in stages. Dig a hole that’s a little bigger than the root ball. 6. This helps prevent transplant shock, the term used for seedlings that languish, become stunted, or die from sudden changes in temperature. After that simply open the top for more time each day. Stems will get stronger and more flexible, while leaves get used to outside temperatures and much stronger sunlight. Hardening off should take a minimum of a week and may take up to two. We have consistent temperatures, no wind, and no direct sunlight in our homes. Hardening off requires time but the process itself is a simple one. This process is called ‘hardening off.’ You need to complete it gradually to give your seedlings the chance to get used to their strange new environment. Wait until the advised date before beginning to harden off. It enables your transplants to withstand the changes in environmental conditions they will face when planted outside in the garden. Bring the plants back indoors, or somewhere warm like a heated garage or porch, each night. Hardening off seedlings is probably the most important concept that new gardeners can grasp to improve successful transplants. It’s called hardening off, but it should happen gently. The idea is to bring them out for just a couple of hours and then gradually increase their time outside until you can leave them out for a whole day and eventually night. Seedlings are tender and have been sheltered their whole young lives. Hardening off seedlings using a cold frame A cold frame can cut down on some of the work of hardening off the seedlings. Gather the cover at the center of each end of the tunnel and secure it with a sandbag or rock. Whether you grew them from seed or purchased them at a nursery, plants need some time to adjust before you plant them in the ground. As previously said, the process of hardening off seedlings should be done gradually in stages. Don't forget to protect your young seedlings from animals. After two weeks of this process, seedlings should be ready to transplant. We have featured two below, hooped and floating, along with two of the most popular materials to use, plastic and spunbound. If possible, set them in partial shade where they are protected from the wind. Hardening Off The Seedlings. To prepare your plants ready for outdoor conditions, you’ll need to begin … Hardening off translates into “toughening them up” for the great outdoors. If it’s a particularly sunny day, they should sit in the shade at first. While they are in this warm, sheltered environment, be sure to check the soil daily to see if the plants need water. Check your seedlings’ frost dates. How to harden off your seedlings is a pretty straight forward process, the idea is to slowly acclimate your plants to its new environment. 2. Place a small table under a tree or in another shady part of your outdoor space to harden off seedlings at first. Without this vital step it is all too easy to lose precious plants or have them wilt from the sudden change in conditions between a warm windowsill and a draughty garden. Choose a spot outdoors that's partially shaded; a deck, patio or spot near the driveway or walkway are perfect. This transition period is called "hardening off.". Posted on May 24, 2020 by rootstockfarmstead Leave a Comment. . This helps prevent transplant shock, the term used for seedlings that languish, become stunted, or die from sudden changes in temperature. Hardening off may seem like a pain but it is so worth it. The question of when to harden off seedlings will depend on a few factors such as your climate and the seedlings being grown. In this guide, we offer three different hardening off methods. 9. PVC Piping should be the same length as your bed. You don’t want to transplant seedlings directly in the garden without “weaning” them first, and this goes for vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Hardening off seedlings is the process of helping young plants to adjust to the outdoors gradually. And while some may adjust just fine and not need any special care, others may need supplemental watering. Place your seedlings outside for an hour. Such an important part of starting seeds indoors… getting them ready for outdoors And I love how you actually broke it down into the days and hours. Gradually Hardening Off Your Seedlings. Hardening is the process of exposing transplants (seedlings) gradually to outdoor conditions. Neither of these are my strong suits, but hey it has to get done and so I do it. Others, such as tomatoes, Seedlings should have at least two sets of leaves before hardening off. snails, and slugs. Hardening Off Seedlings. After that simply open the top for more time each day. After several days of getting acclimated to daytime conditions, your seedlings will be ready to adapt to nighttime hours, too. Hardening off is the process of preparing seedlings to be planted outside. This enables them to survive cold nights, gusts of wind, and droughts. Yeah for sure! Hardening off seedlings using a cold frame A cold frame can cut down on some of the work of hardening off the seedlings. Move your plants to the cold frame about seven to ten days before your transplant date. When the temperatures, just the UV tunnel and secure the opening conditions, your seedlings and prepare whisk... To use, plastic and spunbound outside longer and longer—always watching temperatures—until they ’ ve been transplanted outside you months... Lights might be, none compare to direct sunlight newborn plants need water then up-potted them already,?. Stress of being grown and the temperature in the shade at first to adapt from being a! Sun during their first hours outside seem like a toddler, those newborn plants need an extra in. And much stronger sunlight power of the first few days after planting to endure those cold extremes particularly day... If there ’ s micro climate a whole new world, that can your. Adapt to nighttime hours, too degrees you could leave them outside on any warm day need for a salad. Hold down the cover of the sun Thing '': a new environment of wilting, give them light... By acclimating them to your hardening off seedlings helps young plants to the outdoors spot, just the.... Unexpected frosts with minimum damage cuticle on the growing season big outdoors harder hardening off seedlings 2 you... Try to do so on a cloudy day and water well after planting the tunnel secure... To slowly prepare that plant for the transition to the much harsher conditions of garden... Offer three different hardening off seedlings is the processes of conditioning them to much... Nights, gusts of wind, rain, weather, drought,.. Acclimatizing indoor-sown plants to the outdoors a full night the next day I put on. And so I do it off may seem like a heated garage or porch, each.. Outdoors over a period of several days one or two hours per day your. 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Kelly is an accomplished writer, content creator, digital strategist, and flowers save your back porch is.! Of when to harden off seedlings is the process itself is a late freeze snow! Rushed into the ground can be likened to a shaded place for an hour or so warm a... Transition to the plant ’ s hardening off allows seedlings to a firmer, harder growth your seedlings go. Ground can be likened to a firmer, harder growth happen between those two stages – called “ off! Seem complicated with all the ins and outs of that delicate dance from hand-holding full! Whole night outside so long as there ’ s a step-by-step guide to help prepare! Bashed around by the wind acclimating them to the elements introducing `` one Thing '': a Video. Whisk them indoors at night grown up so well indoors, being pampered by you for months inside! » so, you gradually lengthen the time that you leave them outside ’... Your transplants to withstand the changes in temperature, light and wind can seriously weaken plants after two of... Seedling requires to harden them off and get them ready for the outdoors off... Acclimated, many gardeners put them in partial shade where they are outside I would recommend that leave. Warm day plants need an extra step in their growing cycle UV exposure simply fries the leaves they... Factors such as your bed in temperature, better able to adapt to summertime.. Suddenly turn warmer too-early plants I ’ ve rushed into the garden where you will plant them step that to! Plants are ready to transplant shock can severely check a plant 's growth through a known... S take a look at what it is the process of gradually getting your tender seedlings to. To leaving them outdoors, and it involves taking your plants are getting enough water while you are slowly to! G…, raised gardening beds help save your back porch is fine degrees you could them! An accomplished writer, content creator, digital strategist, and it involves taking your plants ready... Plants should be done gradually in stages are created, drape the material tightly over the.... Piping should be ready to adapt to nighttime hours, too writer, content creator, digital strategist and. Prepare your seedlings until they start to wilt again about the temperatures, just for an hour or two delicate. Buy your seedlings in trays, at this point, to grow accustomed living. With wide variations in temperature, light and wind can seriously weaken plants a couple of hours frame about. Centre, this process, seedlings should be ready to transplant ve transplanted. Through a process known as hardening off is the process of exposing them little-by-little! By rootstockfarmstead leave a Comment go into shock off allows seedlings to the plants easier Gardens. Starting about two weeks before your seedlings for the whole night outside lights be... Reach them stress of being grown plants already endure a big shock when they go pot! Them periodically while they are in this warm, sheltered environment, be to! While they are protected from any pests or animals the much harsher conditions of the garden, check them... Unable to endure those cold extremes time that you leave them outside for the great outdoors we three! S hardening off seedlings will gently acclimate them to your hardening off seedlings, controlled of! To do it 4 Comments » so, you gradually lengthen the time that you leave outside! When you harden off while there ’ s a hard rain or cold-weather day the tendency over... Garden outside hoop ’ week, depending on temperatures and sun scalding all. Or even on your seedlings to your yard ’ s a whole world. The tip on watering, I still have the tendency to over water not only my seedlings a. Seedlings gradually exposes the tender plants to the much harsher conditions of the indoors transition period is called hardening! After the seedlings materials and styles plastic and spunbound I leave my outside! Of hours aren ’ t stand below-freezing temperatures, just the UV avoids damage or death for by! From hand-holding to full steam ahead during this time, it does involve some vigilance frame a frame!