Free Organic Gardening Book – How To Harden Off Before Transplanting

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

Veggie plants waiting for transplant.

Is it planting time yet?

Every single year, that is the question I ask myself.

Why? Partly because I want to put my hands in dirt and partly because I am surrounded…by plants. They are everywhere…

This is my office…cum plant nursery.

Yesterday the temperature was 82 degrees; this morning, it’s 42 degrees. The weather seems to be even more capricious than ever and that means planning a planting date is pretty much impossible. The upshot is that this gardener remains indoors with trays of plants crowding the top of her desk and claiming space on the floor.

Zucchini, cucumbers, peppers and eggplant being baked in the sun.

Plants being burned by the sun.

Well, the plants and I are indoors except when we are both, literally going outdoors, for a few hours, every single day.  I put them out in the morning but by 2:30 PM, all of them are back, inside, feeling the burn.

This is the dance I like to call the “hardening off” cha cha! 

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. 

So, for the next 2 weeks or maybe even 3, I will be lovingly, carefully and constantly toting trays of plants in and out of my office door.

At some point, I will have to make a decision to put them in the ground then stand by my raised beds, saying small prayers over their little green bodies.

After all, planting time here in Eastern Pennsylvania is usually early May, the merry, malleable and every changing month of May! So here’s hoping I get my garden in the ground by May 6th and the wind and snow head North for their last blast of winter!


7 responses to “Free Organic Gardening Book – How To Harden Off Before Transplanting

  1. It seems like so much extra work to get them started inside. I am glad that we do not do that so much here. Some of us do it for tomatoes just because it is better than letting the snails get small seedlings of directly sown seed.

    • Hey Tony, I start everything from seeds because I want to make sure I am using heirloom and non GMO. Reading a new book by Dr. Gundry – Plant Paradox….and he is really clear on how GMO seed contains glyphosate which is so damaging to us and our bodies. So yeah, it’a a bit of effort but having baby plants in the basement in the cold dark days of February is also quite exciting.

      • Especially if there is not much other gardening to do in February.
        I get the catalogue from Baker Creek Seed every year, and it is saddening to see how many of the corn varieties get discontinued because they get contaminated by GMO corn! They test their seed annually, and promptly discontinue anything that is found to be anything less than pure. It is sad that there is no protection for the corn. It is more susceptible to contamination than other vegetables are.

      • We have, in effect, poisoned our food chain as glyphosate – Round UP – and GMO seed/plants are everywhere – water, soil, plants animals. This is another reason I try to grow as much as I can and…frankly, I’m a bit of a zealot when it comes to growing organic. Wish more people understood why cancer, diabetes, obesity and all the accompanying co-morbidities are rampant in the US.

      • So many of us who lack garden space and can not afford ‘clean’ food do not have much choice. It is sad. What happens with corn is so ridiculously outrageous!

  2. It’s great to get some plants growing early isn’t it? We’ve had very changeable weather this year too. As I’m in a new country, growing from seed has been a bit of an experiment. I have a few things to start soon though that require higher germination temperatures. Good tips about hardening off.

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