Been spending more time in the garden lately, have the sun burn to prove it! Planting is at a high peak right now and sadly I’ve lost several plants due to issues with weather and wind. I may be a few weeks behind on posting about hardening off plants but for future reference read on!
Hardening off transplants- Simple definition is when you take your seedlings that have been started indoors and bring them outside a few hours each day. By doing so you are letting the plants get accustom to both sun and weather. Sun, wind and cold can kill them in just a few short hours and you may or may not be able to save them.
Things to remember while Hardening of your plants-
- The best time to start hardening off your seedlings is when they have 4 or more leaves and are a good 4-6 inches tall.
- Do not let the plants wilt, make sure you have watered thoroughly before you set them in the sun. They will dry out quicker than bigger plants, so keep an eye on them.
- On the very first day place seedlings in a shaded area this way they won’t go into shock from direct sunlight. Gradually move them out into the sun over a span of a few days
- 2-4 hours in the sun is a good time frame to start out with on the first couple days. Increase over the next few days.
- Don’t set your plants out on a heavily windy day
- Protect your seedlings against rain, remember a couple week old plants aren’t sturdy enough to be taking hits by weather I have lost many this way in only a few minutes of a rain shower.
- Bring plants in at night until they are used to the cooler evenings.
If you nice lush green leaves suddenly turn white it’s because they are being scorched by the sun. Remember it’s always a good idea to place them in an area out of full direct sunlight the first few days. Slowly move them into the sun, and again only for a few hours at a time. A seedling less than 6 inches and with only four or five leaves can easily go into shock within hours..
Gardeners have the difficult task of first, getting their seeds to germinate then dive into the seedling stage where just about anything can and will happen. You can lose plants at any stage but the most difficult is the hardening off and the next stage of transferring. This is the time when young plants can go into shock more easily than you would think. Even if you follow every garden tip you know you can end up with a pile of dead plants. I know, cause it’s happened to me. Take the time to let them adjust and you’ll have some happy plants on your hands.