The Q&A Archives: Hardening Off Transplants

Question: I understand you should place new seedlings in a "sheltered area", but I'm not sure what constitutes a sheltered area.

Answer: Seedlings that have grown indoors for 8 to 10 weeks need a hardening off period before they're planted outside. This can be accomplished in about a week's time by putting the transplants outdoors, sheltered from winds and direct sunlight, for a few hours each day, and bringing them in at night. Extend the length of time the plants spend outside each day. Then, if the weather is mild, let them stay outside all day and all night for one or two nights. Move them into the sunshine for a few hours each day and then transplant them into their new homes in the garden. By giving your transplants a chance to adjust to the great outdoors in gradual increments, you'll reduce the amount of shock they'll experience.

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