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Gearing Up

April 6th, 2013

I started hardening off my first round of seedlings, gearing up to plant the first round into the soil.  Most of them are onions, they’ll be planted out as soon as I can find space for them.  The rest are brassicas and they’re just beginning to germinate.  They get to stay out all day since they haven’t been softened by living under lights.  Hardening off seedlings can be a little bit of a chore.  I’ve heard horror stories of gardeners forgetting and leaving things out too long, finding their hard work scalded by the sun.  This time of year, the sun still sin’t quite hot enough to do too much damage, at least here in the north, but I still make sure I don’t leave them out all day.
hardening off seedlings 2
The easiest way to harden off seedlings is to find a spot in your garden that gets morning sun and afternoon shade, that way you don’t have to worry about bringing them in halfway through the day.  Then you can do the opposite and give them afternoon sun and morning shade.  After a few days of each they should be ready for full sun.
hardening off seedlings 1
My biggest concern with my seedlings is the chickens.  At first I had them on the picnic table, but I spotted the chickens eyeing them longingly.  Now they’re in the garden surrounded by a fence.  The fence also helps protect all the seeds that I’ve already planted as well.  Eventually there will be a permanent fence around this potager, but that will have to wait until it’s expanded.  Until then, the electric fence (which isn’t turned on) is working out quite nicely.

Any tips/tricks to share for hardening off seedlings? Have you ever sunburned seedlings? 

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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.