HOW TO HARDEN OFF YOUR PLANTS
The gradual process of hardening off is a crucial one, like the slow but steady way we brace our entry into a chilly lake in summer. Jumping in all at once is a shock to our system, but if we start by sticking a toe in and slowly working our way in, the total immersion is not nearly so stressful.
Plants need a period of time to get used to their new homes. The adjustment period is called “hardening off.” We recommend a hardening off period of about three to five days. This will give the foliage tissue time to toughen up so the plants don’t go into shock.
COLD SPRING WEATHER
1. Put new plants outside in a place that is protected from sun and wind. Make sure they get watered as needed.
2. If nights will be cooler than 38-40 degrees, bring into the garage or house.
3. Move the plants out a littler farther each day toward the place in which they will be growing.
4. Leave the plants out at night unless there will be low temperatures. They still might need covering at night if there is a drastic change in the weather.
5. Plant on a cloudy day and they will take right off. Using a root stimulator when planting will help.
WARM SPRING WEATHER
The process above can be sped up, but it is basically the same.
The process here is somewhat different since you are acclimating your plants to hot sun and drying winds.
1. Put plants in a cool, protected place for a day or two.
2. Gradually move plants towards their new location over a period of three or four days.
3. Plant in the cool of the evening or on a cloudy day.
4. Be prepared to shade with a shingle or board until plants are settled in.
5. Water as needed. Always check the soil first.