Hardening off is one of those vegetable gardening techniques that sounds complicated but in reality is as easy as Sunday morning (Shout out to Lionel Ritchie). We explain this important, yet often overlooked, gardening process in this short video:An Important Step That is Often Overlooked by Vegetable Gardeners #weekendfarmer Click To Tweet
Video Transcript for “Hardening Off: An Important Step That is Often Overlooked by Vegetable Gardeners”
Brian Clapp, WeekendFarmer.com Right now I am performing one of the most important and yet overlooked techniques of vegetable gardening, it is called hardening off and it doesn’t require any dirt under your fingernails or tools in your hand. Hardening off is the simple process of acclimating your plants to the outdoors prior to them being planted in the soil.
Let’s take this from a logical perspective for a second, let’s say you purchased your seedlings from a local garden center, or you grew them from seed in your basement or garage under a grow light and germination pad. For these plants entire existence they’ve lived in a controlled environment; they’ve never been exposed to high heat, or cold nights, or had rain or wind affecting their growth patterns.
These plants are not ready to be taken from that safe environment and just placed into your vegetable garden – you need to give them time, and hardening off is the way to do it:
Pick the day you plan on planting stuff out into your garden, let’s say it’s an upcoming Saturday, then count back three days.
On Wednesday you put your plants outside for about an hour, then take them back inside to their controlled environment.
On Thursday do it for two hours, on Friday three hours.
By Saturday your plants are going to be well acclimated and ready to go into the garden, that is hardening off.
You’ll notice on that first day you place your plants outside, Wednesday in this example, they’ll look droopy and stressed. That’s OK, it’s part of the hardening off process. If you give the plants the few days of hardening off they need in order to acclimate, you have a much better chance at having a healthy plant and successful harvest!