If you started seeds late winter or early spring, you need to harden them off before transplanting them into the garden. Seedlings have been coddled with the right heat, light, and little breeze. It is time to help them get used to the world outdoors.
- On a mild, slightly overcast day, set the plants out in a protected area for two hours. Start with morning hours when the sun is less intense.
- Gradually increase the time over the next 3-4 days, still starting in the morning and gradually working into the more intense sun.
- Let them camp out once nights are above 50 degrees (or use a cold frame to let them be slightly protected at night).
- After a week or so, your plants will be able to stay outdoors permanently.
- Transplant! Just a reminder: when planting tomatoes, dig the hole, add compost, remove the bottom set of leaves (all the hairs on the stem will turn into roots), and plant deeply so that the next set of leaves is just above the soil. This will ensure a healthier, sturdier plant!