This has been the coldest spring I can remember. The sides of my greenhouse have been rolled up twice, maybe three times. Usually they’ve been open much more than this, and the seedlings have had a chance to get used to the outdoors before being sold.
At the seedling sale today, I’ll be telling people that they need to harden them off before planting them outdoors so the plants don’t go into shock.
The weather is not really ok for tomatoes and peppers and other heat-loving plants anyway, so they’ll have to be kept indoors at night anyway for a few more nights. Keep an eye on temperatures!
There are a number of ways you can do this; I’ve put together a few tips to keep in mind.
1. Don’t leave them outside at night unless the temps are above 10C. They’re not used to being cold.
2. Put them out into direct sunlight for an hour or two, then move them into a shaded location for a few hours (or vice versa – if you have a shady area that gets a few hours of sunlight, put them there and leave them). Do this for a few days.
3. Gradually increase the amount of time they spend in the sun over the course of 5-7 days.
4. When you transplant them into the garden, try to pick an overcast day OR plant them in the evening so they can recover from the shock.