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Soaking up the Sun

February 28th, 2011

Yesterday was a beautiful day here at Chiot’s Run. We saw the sun, the weather was warm, up around 40 and the snow and ice we got earlier in the week was melting off. This is the time of the year when you really start to notice that the days are getting longer. The sun is higher in the sky and feels warmer when you’re outside. Since it was so nice, I put a flat of lettuce seedling on the front porch in the afternoon to harden off. I also left them out overnight so they could get used to temps a little colder than their basement home.

They’ll be planted out in my cold frame someday later this week if I have a warm day without rain. The nice thing about planting in spring is that you don’t have to worry as much about hardening off as far as the sun goes. The cold however is a different story I find. My front porch is perfect for hardening off, it gets the afternoon sun. The concrete floor warms in the sun and will keep seedlings warmer in the spring so I don’t have to worry about them freezing or getting nipped by frost.

The greenish yellow lettuce is ‘Little Gem’ from Burpee and ‘Sea of Red’ lettuce from Renee’s Garden is the reddish lettuce. I sowed this flat on January 18th, and had first germination on the 21st. I also sowed ‘Rouge Genobloise’ which didn’t germinate very well and ‘Sanquine Ameliore’ lettuce which didn’t germinate at all, both of these were from Baker Creek. I’m not sure what happened with these, I’m going to try sowing another flat with them. Perhaps I just got a bad batch of seeds, which happens on occasion.

Do you have a favorite spot for hardening off seedlings? Are you planting anything in your garden yet?

8 Comments to “Soaking up the Sun”
  1. Daedre Craig on February 28, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I harden my seeds off on the patio. It’s still a pain lugging all the trays inside and outside each day, but it works. I also built a cold-frame last year, but it was too hot to do much good for hardening off.

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  2. Nebraska Dave on February 28, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I haven’t started seed starting yet. Next year I’ll be readly to start the process seriously. I made a lame attempt last year on top of the refridgerator but it was successful failure. I’ll just try seeds directly in the soil this year. If I was to harden off I would do it out on the front south facing patio.

    Have a great lettuce day.

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  3. annie on February 28, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Depending on the time of year I either harden them off right outside my front door which, because of the orientation of the walls, is a suntrap, or if it’s already very hot, I have a makeshift bench I made from a stack of wooden pallets which gets dappled shade from a pecan tree.

    In a few weeks I’ll plant the first round of all my summer crops. I’ve already put in a few tomatoes that are bred for the North. They seem to be doing well with our variable weather and sometimes cold nights. Today I’m going to transplant some somewhat heat tolerant greens.

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  4. Marcia on February 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Hahahahahaha….sorry but the thought of planting anything in my garden amuses me this bitterly cold morning. We are entering our second week at -30 something with wind chill here in southern Alberta and snow is still falling. Spring is but a distant memory and a hope too sweet to utter.

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  5. Morgan G on February 28, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Nothing has gone directly into the soil yet as I’m waiting to fill my beds, but we have plenty of seedlings that are almost ready to start the hardening process – amongst them the Hibiscus and Catalina Spinach you sent. To start we set them out on a picnic table that sits under a patio cover. They love the filtered light. To finish, our front porch is also nice as it gets the most afternoon sun.

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  6. Jennifer Fisk on February 28, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    What garden? Oh you mean that imaginary rectangle 3 feet deep in snow upon which I’ve been throwing the contents of rabbit cage trays all winter? I hope to see soil by April but it snowed 5 more inches today on top of Friday’s foot before it changed over. I hope to see soil by the second week of April.
    I usually harden off my seedlings on my deck which has a south exposure. This can happen anytime in May altough last year it was late March or early April.

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  7. Jaye Whitney on February 28, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    In the north Texas area, my cool weather things are already in and have several things sprouting already (yay!) :)

    I did start several varieties inside and hardened on my patio (west side of the house) during the days (and now nights), but brought them inside when the temps dipped down too low.

    So far so good, I hope we don’t have another hard freeze!

    Reply to Jaye Whitney's comment

  8. Debra on October 8, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    We don’t have real cold nights being in California but I do put my lettuce bed up close to the house on my sunny south side. I enjoyed your blog and your great advise. Thanks

    Reply to Debra's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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