lindydish
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Location: Minnesota

Did I ruin everything?

First time poster!

I've been working on my garden for a month now. This is the first year I'm starting from seed and I'm worried that I just ruined everything! I'm beginning to harden off my plants and I read somewhere that I could leave them in a protected place for 4 hours on the first day. This is what I did and now my beautiful seedlings are weak and their full, gorgeous leaves are wilted! Please tell me I didn't ruin them and how I can fix them!

I brought them inside, said a prayer and gave them water.

Do I leave them in my garage tomorrow to let them get some "mojo" back or should I put them outside again but only for an hour?

Help please!

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mw44118
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Seedlings are resilient

Maybe they're just thirsty. Sunlight can dry out little pots very fast.

kylie77
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Location: Kamloops, BC

Either direct sunlight, or wind damage would be my guess. I had this with some of my pepper plants the other day. I put them out, but meant to bring them in before I left the house. I forgot :(, then when I got back a couple hours later some of them were completely droopy. I feared the worst, but a couple hours later they were looking strong and lovely again! I think it was wind in my case that did it.

I hope yours recover ok. They're so so tender in the beginning. I am not sure what the actual recommendation is, but for my own seedlings I find that only 10-20 mins the first few times, and increase from there. It's hard to get it exact though with 4 kids under 5! lol I find I get busy and forget to bring them in! Maybe I should set a timer!

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Kisal
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"Protected" usually means a shady place where they're not exposed to much wind or rain. Very slowly, over a period of a couple of weeks, they can be moved into more sun, and exposed to stronger breezes.

Also, depending on the type of plant, they shouldn't be put out if the weather is still too chilly. Except for cool season crops, like broccoli and cabbage, I wouldn't put them out at all if the temperature was below 55º F.
Last edited by Kisal on Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

DoubleDogFarm
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I brought them inside, said a prayer and gave them water
Not sure Mother Nature listens :wink:

That's a good question, did they perk right up with the drink of water :?:

The back and forth is a lot of work. I would build a quick temporary cold frame. A large cardboard box and some plastic probably would do the trick. Google cold frame and see if there are designs. I personal use a water trough, no cover.

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rainbowgardener
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Agree with above that they are likely to perk back up and be fine and that hardening off needs to be as gradual as you can make it. Since I have to go to work and can't be bringing trays of plants in and out, I work with location. My deck gets AM sun only, so I put them there, but to start with put them in very protected spots, under benches, etc where they are protected from wind and direct sun. Each night I bring them in and each day I gradually move them to less protected spots, out from under the benches, but maybe in back corner near house wall, with least wind and sun, etc... Eventually they come down off the deck to more full sun areas.
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lindydish
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Location: Minnesota

Thank you for all the helpful responses.

I am seeing some response from the plants after watering, so I'm going to keep pleading with Mother Earth to be kind to one of her newest gardeners. :)

I think a part of my problem is the size of the plants, they grew a lot while I had them inside and since it's been known to snow in MN in late April I didn't want to start hardening them off too soon. I'm going to just open my garage door tomorrow to let them acclimate and heal a little, then re-start the process. I'm allowing myself some goofs since this is my first year doing this. It's definitely a process with a learning curve!

kylie77
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Location: Kamloops, BC

This is my second year growing veg. I found it helpful to treat everything as an experiment! If it works great, if not then you've learned something along the way! I realized there was a ridiculous amount of information to learn when it comes to growing veg. I decided to learn what I could, but not stress too much. Have fun! Things want to grow, we're just learning how to do it the BEST way. Even if you do all sorts of things wrong, chances are you'll get something for your efforts anyway! After last year I'm hooked!!! I love watching my food grow, and better yet, love to EAT it!!! lol

danyoson
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Wow, I wish I had been on this site a year ago. I totally killed my seedlings by not following all of this good advice. Lesson learned.

DoubleDogFarm
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Oh danyoson, show me, paint the fence :lol:

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