The Spring Ritual – Hardening Off   Leave a comment

hardenoff

The first nice day of spring begins the hardening off ritual.  That’s when you gradually accustom your plants grown from seed under grow lights to outdoor conditions.  I start with the plants that don’t mind a little cold weather.  I harden them off first, and after a couple days, they stay out day and night until I’m ready to plant them.  This would include snap dragons, cold weather vegetables like lettuce, brussel sprouts, and any perenials I may have started, this year it’s hollyhock, foxglove and lupine.  I start with just 30 minutes the first day.  It seems so sad to take them out of the sun after such a short time, but it must be done.  The next day I bring them out for an hour or a little longer.  The next time (which usually isn’t the next day, we rarely get 3 warm sunny days in a row in New England in the spring) I’ll leave them out for 2 hours, then 4 hours, then finally all day.  Then after that batch is done, and I don’t have to lug them up and down the stairs anymore, I start on the more tempermental plants that I won’t be planting out quite as soon – tomatoes, other annual flowers, coleus, basil.  Yesterday and today we had unusually warm weather.  Luckily I had just about all my plants hardened off, so they were able to enjoy the day outside.

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Posted April 26, 2009 by cindyeo in coleus, petunia, zinnia

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