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Updated: Mar 8, 2021

Hardening off is very important for your seedlings. It gives your seedling time to adjust to their new surroundings outside. I have lost many a plant to my lack of knowledge about hardening off when I was just starting out. Hardening Off is the process of gradually introduce your seedlings to the conditions of outside.  You will be moving them outside for longer and longer periods to acclimate them to wind, light levels, temperature and generally get them used to the idea that they will be outdoor plants soon. This will prevent the stress that is associated with seedling failure after outdoor transplanting. This process is going to take a minimum of two weeks, so be prepared. Here is my step by step process that I have developed after years of struggles. I have to tell you that what I do may not work for everyone. So please adjust to what your seedlings need in your climate. It is very important that watch your seedlings for any signs of stress. I have made a video on this topic in my Online Course. You can find it here.

Step by Step Hardening Schedule

A. Two weeks before I am scheduled to transplant my plants, I take them out from under their lights and set them in my window shelves. This allows them to slowly adjust to the change in temperature gradually, as under the lights they were given a steady amount of heat. They will also begin to follow the sun. You will notice after a few days they will be leaning in toward the window in hopes of getting more light. This is when I rotate them around. This bending toward the light is a good thing. It will begin to build up the outer structure of their stems.

B. A week before I transplant them. I begin to move them outside. It is very important that in this stage you keep them very well watered. Because they will dry out very quickly. Remember these times are just estimates. You will need to keep a close eye on them. If they look in any way like they are struggling bring them in.

a) Day One: Place in the shade and out of any hard winds for only about 1 to 2 hours.

b) Day Two: Place again in the shade and out of the wind for about 2 to 4 hours

c) Day Three: Place in the shade again for 2 to 4 hours and then give them 1 hour of direct sunlight.

d) Day Four: Place in the shade again to start and increase the about of direct sun up to 2 hours.

e) Day Five : Start in the shade and continue to increase their amount of sun.

f) Day Six: They should be ready to spend the whole day and night outside. But again keep an eye on them. Only you will know if they are ready for this extreme change.

g) Day Seven or when ever they have had a full day and night outside: Transplant!

Enjoy getting your hands dirty. Tell next time.

Pray, Just Plant!

Seeds to Seedling Series

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Crystal Mediate
Crystal Mediate
Mar 31, 2020

I would think that if you still harden them off by slowly letting them adjust to the new environment. And then continue that said environment until transplanting. For example if you adjust them to moving outside slowly then continue to take them out at the same time or same temperature everyday, they should be fine. But remember wind and other things can effect them so watch them very closely.


Virginia S
Virginia S
Mar 31, 2020

I am not using lights this year... Can I put my newly germinated seedlings outside if temps are above 50? Or do I need to wait until they are more established?


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