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Author Topic: Hardening off  (Read 305 times)

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rogertb

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Hardening off
« on: January 21, 2014, 17:30 »
Hi chaps, I intend sowing some tomatoes, peppers etc in a small heated propogator that I bought. I understand that the seedlings should come out pretty soon after they show, I could put them on a wndowsill or take the to the allotment and put them on the greenhouse bench but how and when should I harden them off please ?

I could build a cold frame (I have an old double glazed unit) but I might not be able to get to the allotment every day to open it up so aren't the plants in the same 'environment' as they would be in the grenhouse (ie lots of light and warmth)

Any advice most welcome.

Roger


DD.

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Re: Hardening off
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2014, 17:40 »
If you have no heating in the greenhouse, do not even contemplate sowing them now.

My tomatoes destined for the unheated greenhouse are sown indoors in March, moved to a heated greenhouse in April and then an unheated one in May.

I appreciate that you're a little further south, but unless you've got that step in between the propagator and the unheated greenhouse, you need to hold back. Temperatures below 10C at night can permanently stunt tomatoes. 
I can't believe it told you to do that on the seed packet!

Goosegirl

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Re: Hardening off
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2014, 11:43 »
I totally agree with DD. Start them off in your propagator in March, then remove when showing an inch or so of growth onto a windowsill. Try using a flap of cardboard from a carton, bend one of the longest ends to a right-angle, cover the rest with tinfoil, and place the bent flap under the seed tray at the back so the foil can reflect the light from the window and stops them getting leggy. This starts the hardening-off process too. This should take you up to mid-April or so. Keep an eye on the weather and put in your greenhouse towards the end of April, but be aware that a cold snap will harm them, so bring home again if that happens.
It's a wonderful world when you have a garden in your heart, a bucketful of weeds, and friends to chat with!

DD.

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Re: Hardening off
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2014, 14:32 »
I don't bother with the cardboard. Foil bent upwards with a nip and tuck in the right place is self-supporting!

rogertb

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Re: Hardening off
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2014, 14:34 »
Ah ... I'm being too impatient, I want to use my new propagator and greenhouse ... plus it's semi tropical in Christchurch (Dorset).

Oh well I'll put sowing off for a while. I might still start a bit early in the knowledge that I might fail and sow some succession seeds. I just remember seeing good strong big tom' plants at a car boot sale April last year (or was it May - memory's going).

Thanks for taking the time - Roger



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