It gives a lot of satisfaction to a gardener to grow their plants from seeds. These days, numerous gardeners are following this as it gives them an opportunity to grow wide variety of plants which may not be available in their local nursery. Growing from seeds is not very difficult given you know the process. One of them is, hardening off your seedlings either before transplanting or setting them outside under direct sunlight & wind. Let’s discuss how to harden off seedlings before transplanting.
Hardening off is required for plants grown indoors from seeds as we provide them controlled environment. They are not used of the harsh outer environment like direct sunlight, change in day and night temperature, wind, rain etc. By hardening off, we just help them to develop a resistance to outer environment. Hardening Off is just the process of gradually introducing your plant to outer environment to get used of it.
Hardening Off Steps
- Don’t haste the process, harden off your plants gradually.
- It is perfect to start on a mild, cloudy day when the temperature is steady.
- Water plants before moving them outside.
- Find a sheltered spot to harden off the plants.
- Keep the plants into sheltered spot for just two hours on the first day & bring them back indoors.
- The next day, leave them out for two more hours & repeat the process until the plants are outside the entire day.
- Start the whole process again by keeping your plants in a sunny area for few hours each day. Increase the duration until they spend whole day under sunlight.
- You can leave the plants out overnight if there is no danger of frost.
- If the nights are still cooler, cover the plants with flee or row cover.
- At this point of time, it is safe to transplant your plants.
- Gradually decrease the frequency of watering during the hardening off process but don’t let seedlings to wilt.
- Avoid fertilizing during the process.