Hardening Off!

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As we approach the last frost date for our area of March 15th, it’s about time to harden off seedlings to go outside permanently.

Hardening off is the process of transitioning plants from an indoor space to an outdoor one. It’s a very important step for anyone who has started plants indoors. Why? Well skipping this step could cause your plants to become stressed and even die. After all, you have meticulously cared for these plants, almost like a baby. So now that they have gotten through to the toddler phase it’s off to being a “big boy.”

By hardening off plants, you’re allowing them time to get acclimated to their new outdoor environment. This is done by placing the plant outside each day. You always begin with a shady spot. Your plant is not yet ready for full sunlight and must be worked up to it. So for an hour or so, the plant is set outside on day one and then brought back in. These steps are gradually done each day by increasing their time and exposure to light until they can be placed into their final garden home. This can take anywhere from a week to 10 days depending on the climate and the plants themselves. As always, it is a good idea to check the weather for unexpected changes.

This is how we get a jump start on the growing season each year. We hope that all of you who are home gardeners will enjoy reading this and that it will help too. Wishing everyone a very fruitful growing season.

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