Week 6: Hardening Vegetables!

Hardening Veggies Video and Blog


Welcome to week 6 of my gardening blog! This week we are going to chat about hardening vegetables. This is one of the most important processes you will need to go through with plants that have started indoors.

Plants started from seed indoors do not have the ability to withstand the plethora of environmental challenges the outdoors will give them with a particular emphasis on wind and sunlight. Yes, I’m sure you have had your baby greens growing in front of a window or under a grow light, but it is not the same as the sun, and plants CAN get sunburn! The green leaves will get a whiteish tinge and almost go transparent in some places. CRAZY!

Bringing the outside and left to cope with wind can also be extremely damaging, and the plants are likely going to break under pressure as they have not had to “exercise” to gain strength against the wind.

All you have to do to harden your vegetables is bring them outside for a couple hours at the start, and gradually build their time outside over a 3-5 weeks until they are ready to go into the ground. Wait until it is at least 10 degrees Celsius outside before starting this process. You will also want to keep them fairly close together the first week so that they sorta have each other for support.

If you are anything like me, you likely have a couple hundred plants, and it is super annoying to drag them in and out everyday! This is certainly even more …. hmmm… hair pulling… if you are also working a full time job half out away from home. Every morning, we go and bring the plants out, then everyday after supper – providing they have been climatized – bring them back in.

Due to my job, I always start the hardening process on a Saturday so that they have 2 days with a couple hours. Then, when it moves to 4 hours, I go home at lunch to bring them out and eat on the way there. Then I move to full days. Essentially, you could just bring them out a few hours after work, I just want the high noon sun on them.

I should say though, if your veggies are in a greenhouse and it is a hot day, and you are not bringing them out till later, you should open windows or the door at the very least to allow them to breath. You don’t want to cook them….yet!

You can harden veggies in the greenhouse by putting a fan on them. This you can do right from seed, and I probably should have mentioned that in week one. Sorry! However, this only helps for strengthening them and does not prepare them for the sun.

It’s likely that if you don’t get them ready for the sun they will be ok. They don’t always get a sunburn, but they can. However, you veggies will slow down their growth for a couple weeks if they are not prepared and in a short growing season every day counts!

Well, good luck everyone! I’ll see you next week! Message me at shyanne.leah@gmail.com if you have any comments or questions.