Hardening off?

I think every new gardener makes a terrible mistake at one point.  We return from the garden centre, laden with beautiful young plants that we can’t wait to plant.  Unfortunately, the next day after planting, they have all died. What went wrong?

The plants needed to be hardened off before they were planted.  The term “hardening off ” refers to getting tender greenhouse or indoor plants used to the harsher outdoor conditions before they are permanently outdoors.  In the greenhouse, conditions are perfect for young plants.  The humidity is high, the wind is low, and the light is bright but not burning.  Adequate water is always available.

The great outdoors is not necessarily set up to nurture young plants.  Cold, heat, direct sunlight, and wind are all damaging to plants that have not yet adapted to this.  Gardeners must take on the job of slowly adapting plants to outdoor conditions.

Step one: Observe conditions outdoors.  If the temperature is less than 5-10 degrees Celsius, it may not be worth bringing the plants outdoors at all, because the cold can weaken them, and they won’t grow at all.  It may be best to leave them indoors in a bright sunny window.

Step Two: If it’s warm enough, choose a proper location.  On the first day of outdoor life, plants should be kept in a shady and protected spot.  Remember, a shady location outdoors is still exposed to more sunlight than most indoor locations, because there are no windows to block the light.  The wind is also a problem, so choose a spot that does not get wind.  If necessary, a cardboard box can be used to

Posted Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018 under Uncategorized.

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