Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Hardening Off"

"I don't want to go outside!"
Wow! When you hear a a couple of words like that you would think you need more than a six grade education to understand that one! But you don't have to be in the higher institutes of learning to understand what "Hardening off" is. All it is, is getting your plants accumulated to the outdoor temperatures. Remember they have been tucked in to a nice warm building, under warm grow lights, they have had a breeze blowing on them and all the water they can handle! Sounds like a vacation for me, how about you all? So here are a few quick tips on how to harden off.

Linked with:
Simply Made Home 
Homestead Revival 
My Simple Country Living 
The Morristribe Homestead 
  1. Harden off gradually, so that seedlings become accustomed to strong sunlight, cool nights and less-frequent watering over a 7-10 day period.
  2. On a mild day, start with 2-3 hours of sun in a sheltered location.
  3. Protect seedlings from strong sun, wind, hard rain and cool temperatures.
  4. Use an automatically opening cold frame, if you have one.
  5. Increase exposure to sunlight a few additional hours at a time and gradually reduce frequency of watering, but do not allow seedlings to wilt. Avoid fertilizing.
  6. Keep an eye on the weather and listen to the low temperature prediction. If temperatures below the crop's minimum are forecast, bring the plants indoors or close the cold frame and cover it with a blanket or other insulation.
  7. Gradually increase exposure to cold.
  8. After transplanting to the garden, use a weak fertilizer solution to get transplants growing again and to help avoid transplant shock.You can also use a cup of warm water to help with the transfer!


  1. Great information! Hope your plants are growing well.

  2. This is something I will need to learn, I think.
    Have a blessed weekend, Clint! :o)

  3. Thanks Clint! I'm headed out to the greenhouse to give my little seedlings a shot at the great out doors this morning!
    How are your gardens in the raised beds doing?

  4. Thanks for the info, Clint! An important step for healthy plants.

  5. Hardening off can be a bit intimidating and even though you think you've done it all correctly...Mr. windy breeze can chill your plants. That's what happened to me this year but they are recovering now and going in the ground.

    Your raised beds look wonderful Clint, and if I had it to start again, I think I would do all thigh high raised beds, for the sheer blessed no bending of it all ;-)