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Stay At Home Project #1 Update “Hardening Off” Really??

May, 1983, the year I started gardening. I remember removing a 10’X10′ square of grass in our backyard at 34 Pierreoont Street in Freeport. It was a few short months before our son Matthew was born. We always put the plants in the ground on Mother’s Day, just something I started. I don’t know, mother of our kids, mother of our plants, whatever.

May 10th, 2020 Is Coming Soon

There is one more major step I have to take before I put my babies into the ground. It is called “Hardening Off Transplants” I am going to let the National Gardening Association tell you what this is all about.

“One of the most important steps in planting comes before seedlings get near the garden. This is the process of hardening off, or gradually acclimating you tomato seedlings to outdoor conditions. These plants have spent their short lives in a warm, sunny, protected place and won’t fare well if you don’t expose them slowly to the elements.

A few days before you’re ready to begin hardening plants off, reduce amount of water you give them, and cease fertilizing until they are planted in the garden.

About 10 days before you intend to plant, put your transplants outdoors in an area where they’ll be protected from the direct sunlight and wind. Leave them out for a few hours and bring them back inside. Repeat this each day, gradually increasing the amount of time they’re outside and the degree of exposure to sun and wind. After a week or so, leave the transplants out overnight. If frost threatens, bring them indoors.

If you harden off your plants properly, they’ll be strong and able to withstand full sun, strong breezes, and all the challenges they’ll meet in the garden.”

Thanks A Lot, Another Big Project

Here is what I have to do:

  • pick a protected exterior location where the plants will spend time acclimating to the outside environment
  • the plants have to come inside our house at night for the first week, oh man, where am I going to put them, there are over 40 of them
  • I have to build a structure that supports the plants and protects them from wind and rain
  • how am I going to move all of them?

Turns out, our front porch was the perfect place to harden off the plants. Protected overhead and one wall.

A place for the plants to sleep; right inside the front door is Hope’s library. That’s right guys, I built a library with built-in shelving for my bookworm.

Using all my stay at home materials, I built a 11′ long X 36″ wide table that sits on two saw horses. The structure has 4 legs that extend 36″ above the table. The table is surrounded by house wrap. (remember Your Home’s Exterior Class)? This will protect the plants from the wind.

not too bad?

So here it is, I added some rocks to the base of the legs, maybe it won’t fly away.

here they are, in many old Staples filing crates

The crates help support the plants and really helps me move them safely in and out of the house.

another view

another view of the acclimating plants.

Safe in Hope’s library

Safe tonight, sleep well, tomorrow is another day outside……Proud Plant Papa

Together We Can Do This

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