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Newbie question: when to harden off?

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Newbie question: when to harden off?

Post  melissam41 on 4/7/2016, 10:41 am

I have read a ton of articles via Google and searched this forum, but I cannot seem to find the answer to my question: how big/old should seedlings be, in general, when you start the hardening off process?

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Re: Newbie question: when to harden off?

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/7/2016, 4:26 pm

Hi Melissa!
glad you\'re here
Hm...good question.  I set them out to harden off a week or so before I want to plant them out, no matter what size they are.

If any one knows of a hard and fast rule, let us know.

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Re: Newbie question: when to harden off?

Post  sanderson on 4/7/2016, 4:31 pm

Good question. When one feels the weather is gentle enough and just increase the amount of time in baby steps. Sometimes the weather turns bad and back under the lights they have to go. How do you like them hard and fast rules? Very Happy

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Re: Newbie question: when to harden off?

Post  Kelejan on 4/7/2016, 5:16 pm

I find that I am inclined to forget the poor little seedlings and have to dash out in my jammies to rescue them.

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Re: Newbie question: when to harden off?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/7/2016, 9:56 pm

Max 1 week. Rain and wind need to be considered, but if they are goin' out, I don't baby 'em. Maybe start with 1/2 day with turbulent weather...

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Re: Newbie question: when to harden off?

Post  CitizenKate on 4/7/2016, 10:12 pm

I start setting mine outside as soon as their first leaves appear, first for about an hour, then two, then for the morning, then all day if the weather is mild. I bring them back in if there are high winds, heavy rain, or frost.

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Re: Newbie question: when to harden off?

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/8/2016, 12:52 pm

Yeah, I set out my just sprouted pak choi this morning into dappled sun/shade and hi winds. Along with 2nd true leaved brussel sprouts and a volunteer tomato from the indoor ginger plant pot.  Not good weather for the tomato but heck, it looks healthier & thicker than the coddled indoor starts so I'll bet it'll be fine.  I'll bring them all in when I go home for lunch today.

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Re: Newbie question: when to harden off?

Post  landarch on 4/8/2016, 2:32 pm

I usually set my seedlings out for hardening off a few days after being potted-up...I like my plants to get natural sunlight asap and it also frees-up some space under the grow lights.

It does take a bit more work to plan for harsh weather, however.

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Re: Newbie question: when to harden off?

Post  melissam41 on 4/8/2016, 8:18 pm

@landarch wrote:I usually set my seedlings out for hardening off a few days after being potted-up...I like my plants to get natural sunlight asap and it also frees-up some space under the grow lights.

It does take a bit more work to plan for harsh weather, however.

You mean, like this? (Current situation):

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Re: Newbie question: when to harden off?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/8/2016, 8:26 pm

I get it Melissa. No, I don't stick warm weather things outside unless it is warmish, like 55-60 daytime. And bring them in at night.

Cool weather stuff is good generally to harden off with 40 working down. 40 to start as warmish, and let them get acclimated to the cooler ground temps. Keep notes!


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Re: Newbie question: when to harden off?

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/9/2016, 7:34 am

Right! Definitely don't stick the warm weather starts out when it's snowing, or cold! The only reason one of my tomatoes is going out is because it's an unplanned one that sprouted from the compost in an indoor pot. I transplanted it to an empty cell that happens to be with the brussel sprouts. The brussel sprouts HAVE to harden off now so the tom goes with them. It's an experiment. If I lose it it's not a big deal.

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Re: Newbie question: when to harden off?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/9/2016, 5:50 pm

Volunteers seem to have superplant qualities....

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Re: Newbie question: when to harden off?

Post  landarch on 4/10/2016, 9:51 am

I set plants outside in late winter only if the sun is shining and I can get some heat gain by covering with material...heavy duty construction plastic or Agribon.  If I can't get the heat gain the plants stay inside under the lights.  Plants come inside for the evening for sure.

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Re: Newbie question: when to harden off?

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