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Acclimating Seedlings to the Cruel World

Apr 02, 2008 -

Yeah, I know.  You’ve heard it a million times.  So have I.

“The most important thing about starting seeds is properly hardening them off.”

“Yeah, right, ok, ok.” I said, ignoring the sage advice. But as usual, I was dead wrong.

My last frost date is historically March 23rd, but that does not mean that it won’t get down into the mid 30s after this point (duly noted).  I had been moving some sunflowers, nasturtiums, cucumber, and zinnia starts in and out for like…a day…then I left them outside.  They fared OK for a couple nights, and then we had a night in which the low was 36o.

That didn’t go so well.

My excuse is that I’m at work all day and can’t follow a rigorous and increasing hardening off period.  Yep, it’s just that - an excuse.

So while I try to save the sunflowers and nasturtiums by moving them back inside for a little while, the zinnias fared ok outside, but the cucumber starts bit the dust.  Have to restart them and think a little harder about the next rounds of seedlings making their way outside soon.
So folks, be sure to harden off your seedlings properly.  I’m sure Andrew will.

Jean Ann Says:
Apr 3rd, 2008 at 6:04 am

Well I was thinking about whether or not I really needed to harden off my seedlings…so thanks for this post.  I have a small greenhouse and have created a method that doesn’t involve moving every flat outside…but does involve unheated nights and ventilation…we shall see if it is a good method.

In The Loop » Blog Archive » Late Spri Says:
Apr 19th, 2008 at 8:21 am

[...] last frost date was nearly a month ago I’ve been leery to plant seedlings outside because I lost a few seedlings back when we had a cold spell around our last frost date (not even a [...]

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