From our May 2021 Newsletter
If you have bought bedding plants from a greenhouse, or you have started your own flowers and veggies from seed, you need to start hardening them off.
Unfortunately the hardening off process is necessary; your seedlings and bedding plants need to be acclimated to the great outdoors of bright sun and strong winds. If you try to skip this step it will result in a great deal of disappointment for you in both lost time and money. The shock of transplant and extreme environment change will be too much and your precious baby plants will not survive.
Hardening off is an exercise in patience and babysitting. Start with setting your plants out for a few hours a day in a place without full sun or wind. You may have to engineer a protected place for them if you don’t have anything available- utilize shade or frost cloth, or a bed sheet to give them some shade and try to surround them with something to break the wind.
You’ll find yourself watering more as it doesn’t take long for your plants to dry out; the last thing you want to do is dehydrate them and stress them out even more.
Be mindful of the weather and err on the side of caution by setting your plants inside if you might be away from home on a hot and windy day. Our Saskatchewan spring ‘breezes’ can destroy tender seedlings very quickly.
It’s a process you don’t want to rush, as much as it is a pain to shuffle plants in and out of the house. Give yourself 1 week at least, and up to 3 depending on the weather and tenderness of your plants. And don’t forget to bring your plants in at night if the forecast is going to be on the cool side- you’ll be mad at yourself in the morning if you find limp tomatoes on your doorstep.