MOFishin
Senior Member
Posts: 126
Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 5:33 pm
Location: Central Missouri 6A

"Hardening" your plants before transplanting??

I've just started hearing about this since I've been coming around here. How do you do it, and when do you know the plants are ready?

I've been transplanting plants as I buy them, just as I did the first year I had a garden. But after 2 of my tomato plants seem like they may die because I transplanted them when they may not have been ready, I've decided I need to do something different with a couple of my more expensive plants that haven't gone in the ground yet, as well as my remaining 4 cayenne pepper plants since they look healthy, yet tiny.

So, like I said, I'm wondering how and when do I know.
Thanks.
Last edited by MOFishin on Tue May 10, 2016 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Lindsaylew82
Mod
Posts: 2116
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 1:26 am
Location: Upstate, SC

Re: "Hardening" your plants before transplanting??

I put them out in full morning sun for 2 hours, then dappled shade till about 2 pm...for a few days.

Then I move them to my front porch where they get more intense sun for the afternoon... For a few days. Then garden.
Lindsay
Upstate, SC
USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: "Hardening" your plants before transplanting??

Ya, those little plants that have been growing indoors are not used to bright sunlight nor breeze. Set them out for a couple of hours per day for a few days then lengthen the time each day for a week. Those old leaves may turn color and drop off but the new leaves will be good to go.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
kayjay
Green Thumb
Posts: 394
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:14 pm
Location: Southern Ontario

Re: "Hardening" your plants before transplanting??

I don't think you can "know" that they're ready, just be as cautious as you have the time and patience for. Know which ones tolerate frost, and which ones need more heat. Even the cold weather veggies need to be babied a bit, though.

I started my seeds in a very warm room. I moved the cool weather veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage) down to a colder room once they were established. The warm weather veggies (tomatoes, peppers) stayed in the warm room. Right now, everything is getting put outside in a big Rubbermaid tub. The weather is warm enough, and the sides of the tub protect them from the wind. My average last frost date is right about now - I imagine your climate is warmer than mine. They get direct sunlight maybe for a few hours, and then are partially shaded by my tree.

Keep an eye on the weather, and if you've planted something outside and you're worried it was too early, be prepared to protect them. I use mini greenhouses that are actually just big soda bottles with the bottoms cut off. :)
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

MOFishin
Senior Member
Posts: 126
Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 5:33 pm
Location: Central Missouri 6A

Re: "Hardening" your plants before transplanting??

Thanks for all the advice folks. I'll keep an eye on my weather and try to baby my plants that haven't been transplanted yet. I think I should be in the clear as far as frost goes. But we might have some nights coming up when the low dips to low 50's, maybe even high 40', so I'll probably bring them in those nights.

User avatar
digitS'
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3495
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:10 pm
Location: ID/Wa! border

Re: "Hardening" your plants before transplanting??

Cold/heat, wind, and sun.

When I was a greenhouse employee, we would come out of winter and working under the open skies 44 hours each week, as bleached as an office worker, trapped in a cubicle! UV light doesn't travel through glass much better than through asphalt roofing ...

Anyway, plant tissue is probably no tougher than a little blonde toddler's skin, when you first carry those plants out under the bright sun on a spring day. I set them for the first couple days in the most protected part of my yard. Not in total shade, and there is some air movement, but it's where you would set the stroller so the kid can have an afternoon nap, out of doors.

The third day or so, those plants can be where they catch 3 hours or so of morning sun. A couple days later, most all day sun ... but you have been watching the forecast and there is something about "high winds," or something. Another day ... take them in at night if it's chilly.

Yes, leaves may look a little worse after a few days from the time when they were total shrinking violets. They have to toughen up!

Steve
Make everything as simple as possible but not simpler. ~ Albert Einstein

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”