FairyDust
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Hardening Off Herbs Grown From Seeds?

I started some herbs about a month ago indoors, they are all roughly about 2 inches tall now. I've heard of people hardening off their seedlings before planting them outdoors when its time. How do you do that? By setting them outside each day and bringing them in at night until its warm enough at night to leave them outside at night as well and then planting them?

I looked for threads on this and didn't find any.

ETA: I'm also growing tomatoes from seeds and they are probably like 3 inches tall already.

opabinia51
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Yes, leave your plants out during the day and move them in at night. Do this for a week or two and then move your plants out full time. I have a greenhouse that stays fairly warm at night and just move them in there (I did that on Saturday and yesterday).

FairyDust
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Thanks! Thats what I started doing today. I put them out around 10am when it had warmed up a bit and it got to around 63 today and I just brought them in at 6pm since its getting pretty cool out now. Everything is looking really good, I'm surprised. I'm horrible at trying to grow seeds and ALL my tomatoes are really healthy looking, the bell peppers, thyme, cilantro, mint, oregano, basil, etc.

If they all make it I am gonna be swamped with herbs and tomato plants. I do make my own tomato sauces and such and freeze them. But I have like 21 tomato plants growing right now and its just me and my husband. :shock:

Maybe my neighbors would like some if I do wind up with a lot. Is this normal and do you usually wind up losing quite a few during the hardening off and once they are outside?

opabinia51
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Tomatoe seedlings are pretty hardy, it was wise to start with them. What's best with them is when you transplant the little seddlings, clip off all the leaves except the very top ones and bury the entire stem. This will give you a really healthy root system and healthy tomtoe plants.

I'm not sure where you live, but up here the only place where I have had success growing basil is in a greenhouse. It likes the heat.

You may lose a few of the herbs but, the tomatoes should be fine. Right around May, all these signs pop up around here from people who have planted tomatoe seeds, selling all their propagules. :wink:

Briarwoods
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FairyDust wrote:Thanks! Thats what I started doing today. I put them out around 10am when it had warmed up a bit and it got to around 63 today and I just brought them in at 6pm since its getting pretty cool out now. Everything is looking really good, I'm surprised. I'm horrible at trying to grow seeds and ALL my tomatoes are really healthy looking, the bell peppers, thyme, cilantro, mint, oregano, basil, etc.

If they all make it I am gonna be swamped with herbs and tomato plants. I do make my own tomato sauces and such and freeze them. But I have like 21 tomato plants growing right now and its just me and my husband. :shock:

Maybe my neighbors would like some if I do wind up with a lot. Is this normal and do you usually wind up losing quite a few during the hardening off and once they are outside?
Ditto here! Except I have 40+ tomato plants and still no garden set up. Everything I planted is taking off wonderfully so I too will be swamped. My husband told me to set up a farmers market stand at the end of the driveway when everything is ready to pick.

opabinia51
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That's what all the farmers do around my mom's place. Especially those who grow asparagus. YIKES :shock:


I have enough tomatoe seedlings to supply the entire neighbourhood and hear this: I'm going tomorrow to my little organic nursery to buy more for my landlord and myself! Can't get enough of those tomatoes!

FairyDust
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lol wow that is a lot!

I think I might've burned some of my tomatoes and the morning glories. The other day it only got to 70 but the sun was pretty intense and I forgot about my seedlings outside and when I brought them in that evening they looked papery and very pale. I haven't put them out again since.

I'm not sure what to do, should I start by just putting them out in the mornings and bringing them in before the sun gets too intense? And try to slowly leave them out longer and longer?

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Grey
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They will be okay - just let them recover a little, make sure they have water, and when they look strong and not droopy set them back out again. They'll be fine!

I started hardening off my tomatoes & such too - I started out with them on the porch, which gets bright indirect light all day. Then I put them in part sun - they get the morning, and part of afternoon, but not the enitre day's worth. Next week they'll start getting full sun.

And I am in the same boat as Briarwoods - I have 20 tomato plants and have yet to build the bed to put them in! That'll happen next week too.

opabinia51
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Just remember when you are building your beds to put some good rotted manure in them as tomatoes are really heavy feeders. I alsways throw a handful of kelp meal in the holes before I put the toamtoes in as well.

Also, when planting your tomatoes, make the hole twice as large as the root ball then top it up with some good mushroom manure or other soil ammendment then plant your tomatoe plant with a stake and tie tomatoes to the stakes with old nylons. Works like a charm.

Zone10
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This may be a silly question, but is Hardening Off needed for all seedlings or only if you have cold weather at night?

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