Hardening off seedlings outside is a very important aspect of growing your own gardening plants from seeds. Hardening off seedlings means putting them outside for short periods of time before they are ready to be planted so they can toughen up to the cold, the sun and the heat. And then you gradually extend the amount of time that you leave them outside until they are ready to be transplanted.
Hardening Off Seedlings Outside Learning the Hard Way
I always knew about the concept of hardening seedlings outside and I definitely did it to get them used to cooler temperatures in the early spring. But I had no idea that the heat could hurt these delicate seedlings until I learned the hard way. I put a tray of seedlings on the front porch to get some sun. The first day they were totally fine. It was around 69-70 degrees that day. The next day I noticed that some of the leaves were getting white almost like they were bleached and some leaves were just dying. The temperature was up to about 77 on that day. I quickly brought them all in but the damage had been done.
Hardening Off Seedlings to Protect the Plants
Seedlings need to be hardened off to heat also just like the cold. Don’t make my mistake and leave them in the sun for too long in the beginning! I never thought that the heat would hurt them. The truth is that with the weather the way it is now we just don’t know what to expect. It is so variable–very hot or cold when it is not supposed to be. Who could imagine that we would have some snow in the middle of April or that it is actually 87 degrees out today–the beginning of May. I really need to watch the weather forecast more carefully for my new seedlings. More information on getting seedlings ready for planting is available at this link.