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How to Successfully Start Seed Indoors


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Seed Starting: Hardening Off
How to Harden Off Plants

Most plants need a period of adjustment before being left outdoors and there are several ways to do it.

Photo: © Marie Iannotti

By the time the temperature warms outside, you should have stocky, healthy young plants. Before moving them out into the garden, take a week or two to gradually introduce them to their new growing conditions. This is called hardening off. It gives the plants a chance to acclimate to sunlight, drying winds and climate changes.

  • Move the plants to a shady spot for increasing amounts of time, several days in a row.

  • Bring them in or cover them if the temperature looks like it will dip.

  • Gradually increase the amount of time they spend outside and the amount of sunlight they receive until you see that they are growing strong and appear ready to go out on their own.

  • Water your seedlings well before and after transplanting and try not to transplant during the hottest, sunniest part of the day.
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