Harden Off Your Seedlings Before Transplanting Into the Garden
“Hardening off” is the process of acclimating your pampered vegetable starts to the outdoors. The process should be gradual and can take place over a weeks time. Take your starts outdoors and introduce them to an hour of sunlight (morning sun is best) and increase the time by an hour each day. By the end of the week they will be have been exposed to 7 hours of continuous sunlight and are ready to go into their permanent location. Avoid putting them out on windy days and when temps are going to be below 45°F. It is also important to slowly decrease the amount of water they are getting, but not to the point that they will wilt. Do not fertilize your seedlings during the process as well. You want to slow down their growth rate a bit during the hardening off process.