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Location: Charles Town WV

Help hardening off seedlings

This is my first year starting seeds. I understand that I have to acclimate the seedlings to outside. The second or third time I placed them outside some of my tomato leaves were burnt. My question is how do I do this when I'm away from home 12 hours a day?

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Greener Thumb
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Location: Upper Piedmont area of Virginia, Zone 7a

Re: Help hardening off seedlings

When I had that problem, after the first several days when they should be in a shady spot during the day (even though in the shade, they're still being exposed to outdoor temps & outdoor light), I moved them to a spot where they would only get sun for part of the day - like on a covered porch or near a tree or shrub where they'd be shaded for some of the time as the sun moved. After about a week or two (depending on how old &/or delicate the seedlings were), they were just fine in full sun so long as they were well-watered & it wasn't horrendously windy.
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Re: Help hardening off seedlings

Yup, agreed. I have the same situation about working away from home and hardening off hundreds of seedlings. Like GC said, I do it with placement instead of time.

I have a deck that gets mainly only morning sun. On the deck is a long planting bench. To start with when they first come out, I put them UNDER the bench. That way they get no direct sun and a lot of protection from wind (wind is at least as much the enemy at that point as sun, very dessicating). Still bring them in at night if the nights are chilly. After a little while of that, they can be out from under, but near the house where they get fewer hours of direct sun and still a lot of wind protection. Then they gradually move to more and more sun exposure/ less protection, by where they are placed and stay out all the time (provided no freezes). Eventually they come down off the deck to a more all day sun location.
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Re: Help hardening off seedlings

I had some success hardening seedlings under a floating row cover.

But I didn't anchor it down enough. So where it blew off they died under the hot sun. Where it stayed in place they thrived.

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