Answer: When you start your seedlings indoors, they are growing in a consistently warm environment and are protected from the temperature swings they experience outdoors. And, they are not accustomed to dealing with sunshine. So, to get them off to a good start, harden them off before you plant them in the garden. When your seedlings have 3-4 sets of leaves, and when the weather is warm but not hot, take them outdoors and place them in a protected place. Move them on a daily basis to brighter and brighter areas, giving them at first one hour of direct sunshine, and increasing their exposure to sunshine by a couple of hours a day. In a week or 10 days they should be experiencing all day sunshine and should be sufficiently hardened off to be planted out in the garden. After planting, water them in well to settle the soil and then be sure to water as often as necessary to keep the soil moist but not soggy wet. They should adjust within a week. At that time you can water more deeply but less frequently. Hope this helps your seedlings this year.
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