If you’re like me, you’ll eagerly await the day you can transplant your seedlings that you have started in your Seedling Starter Kit outdoors. But for best results, you should introduce your plants to the outside world gradually. This is a process called “hardening off seedlings.”
When you start seedlings indoors, they know only the stable, safe conditions of your home, where they enjoy consistent temperature, ideal lighting, and protection from pests.
If you pluck them out of that little utopia and stick them into an environment with wind, rain, temperature fluctuations, insects, and so on, they’ll get stressed.
That stress can stunt your seedlings’ growth. In fact, it could even kill them. And clearly, if that happens, your reasons for starting seeds early become rather moot.
So hardening off is important. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy, requiring only a few minutes each day starting one week before transplant day.
Hardening Off Seedlings
Just follow these steps:
- For seven days, set your seedlings outside in a relatively protected area (e.g., somewhere with indirect sun and little wind exposure).
- On the first day, leave your seedlings out for only an hour. Then each following day, add an hour and start to expose them to more sunlight.
- On the final day, your seedlings will have experienced seven hours outside. After that, they should be hardy enough to transplant.
Gardening Tip: To start the hardening off process even earlier, aim a small fan—set on low—at your seedlings as they grow indoors, and gently touch their leaves and stems a few times each day.
How to Transplant Seedlings
Once you’ve hardened off your seedlings and they’re about three inches tall with roots growing from the rockwool, you can transplant them. Plant one seedling per growing port in your outdoor Tower Garden by gently pressing the rockwool cube in until it touches the base of the net pot.
Gardening Tip: Starting a Tower Garden full of new seedlings? Be sure to use half-strength nutrients for the first month. That formula is: 10 mL of Mineral Blend A + 10 mL of Mineral Blend B / gallon of water.
In as early as a month, you will be enjoying the first harvest from your Tower Garden.
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