Hardening Off Plants Before Transplanting

Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, cucumbers and zucchini wait for transplanting

Veggie plants waiting for transplant.

It’s May 19th and my tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers and zucchini are still not in the ground.

Cold, windy weather kept the bees inside the hive and this gardener indoors with trays of plants crowding the top of her desk and claiming space on the floor.

 Then, the temperatures shot up to high 80’s and low 90’s and trying to harden off became a game between me, the sun and the time of day.
Zucchini, cucumbers, peppers and eggplant being baked in the sun.

Plants being burned by the sun.

All 74 plants go outside in the morning but by 2:30 PM, all of them are back, inside, feeling the burn.

It’s almost the end of May and I am still trying to harden off my plants and get them in the ground! I would like to stop doing this particular dance with my plants but I know better.
Peppers, cukes, zukes and eggplant baking on the patio.

Veggie transplants baking in the sun.

Hardening off is necessary to move the plants from a controlled environment into the world of wind, sun, rain and changing temperatures. Don’t harden off and your plants will die.

This weekend, no matter what the temperature, I will be planting my babies and saying small prayers over their little, green bodies. Here’s hoping the sun and the wind relent for just a few days!
After all, it is May, the merry, malleable and ever-changing month of May. Hope I get the garden in the ground in the next week.

5 responses to “Hardening Off Plants Before Transplanting

  1. I’m impressed that you can grow so many plants indoors. Perhaps your light is stronger – my chilliest are growing at a snail’s pace – at this rate it will be next summer before I have any!

    Anyway, good luck with hardening off and planting out. I put the biggest tomato plant out yesterday and it didn’t like it (too leggy from growing up indoors).

    • Mine seemed to prefer the great indoors, too. It’s in the 60’s here now…a heat wave! 50 at night!!

      • Is that normal for the end of May? We’ve been experiencing about the same.

      • It has not been the recent weather trend to have such cold days this late in May. In fact, for the last 8 to 10 years, I have been able to put my garden in on or around May 7th and it would be flourishing by now. The weather has been erratic. We had 80’s in February and 20’s in April making it truly hard to predict what to uncover (garlic, perennials and herbs), and what to plant, when.

      • Yes, it sounds very unpredictable.

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