Hardening off…getting ready to plant out


Seedlings coming along nicely? Maybe you’re ready for a bit of horticultural know-how known as ‘hardening off’.

We love the UK weather – changeable due to our maritime climate. Basically, it blows hot and cold due to being an island! What this means is that we could still have frost right up to the end of May. We’ve had some lovely sunny days lately, but have you noticed it’s been pyjama time many nights? Well, the seedlings are tender – just like humans!

If you plant your seedlings out too soon, they might die if the night temperature goes below 2 degrees, and get ‘checked’ if it goes below 4 degrees. If ‘checked’ this basically means a kind of sulky disposition is induced, meaning slowed or stopped rate of growth. You might as well have been patient and waited as plants put out at the right time will ramp away, carefree and full of vigour.

Hardening off

It’s not rocket science. Just put the seedlings out in the morning and bring them back in in the evening for five days or so. Aim not to put them in full sun, at least to begin with. As they’ve been inside, they’re not ready for full UV rays straight away. Use a tray so it’s easy to pop them outside the back door (not where anyone will trip over them). This twice daily interaction will get you falling in love with your plants as you look at them to check their progress (‘loving comes with looking’) and get a feel for how much water they need and will need when you put them out.

Very much looking foward to seeing you on May 19th for the SWAP and June 2nd for the BIG LUNCH picnic where you can also bring your seedlings for swapping.