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Practicalities of hardening off


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  • Practicalities of hardening off

    Hey folks,

    My tomato leaves have got white patches on them just after planting out into greenhouse. I suspect this is sunscald from failing to harden off enough.

    My question is around the practicalities of hardening plants off. I have read that I should put them out for a little longer each day for a week or so starting at around 1 hour or so. But working full time how do I do this? Can I just stick them out in the evenings/mornings for a week or so, even though it is colder and there’s less sun at these times?


  • #2
    I'm retired and I don't have the time for an hourly regime, not one I've heard of to be honest. From house to greenhouse is easy, nice day means plants out of house into greenhouse and returned to house if overnight temperatures drop below 10 degrees C. Another thing is temperature swing, so you don't want it too hot in the day either, so auto ventilation is great if you are at work all day.
    If I'm not on here, I'm probably fishing.


    • #3
      Perfect. Thanks.


      • #4
        I just put mine straight out onto my patio once the nights are warm enough. The patio is cooler and brighter than my conservatory, but is sheltered and doesn't get full sun all day, so it's still not as severe as going straight into the garden or allotment.


        • #5
          I harden my toms and cucs by leaving them on window sills overnight taking them into the GH during the day then back indoors in the evening, like Burnie I keep doing this until the night temps are 10c. Mine have been planted in the GH border for a couple of weeks now.


          • #6
            Some of the things recommended for gardeners to do were thought of when people had full time gardeners who could manage this sort of thing. Nowadays almost everyone would find hardening off in this way impossible - I certainly would!

            I am probably a little extreme in going almost the other way. I try to choose warmer spells when the nights are not too cold, and I move things from the house to the growhouse/greenhouse/cold frame, where they stay until they are ready to plant out. The only exception to this would be early in the year when things might be brought into the garage if frost was forecast. There are a couple of reasons for this - the first is space. Usually things are moved outside to create indoor space for newly germinated or potted up seedlings so there is nowhere to bring them back in to. The 2nd reason is pests. As soon as things go outside they start to be attacked by things like greenfly, which can be almost impossible to eradicate if you get them in the house, and can cause a lot of damage to very young plants. My plants therefore have to take what comes - obviously I shut windows, doors and covers if it is forecast to be cold, or use fleece if I can. So far, touch wood, I have not lost anything to cold, although things like runner beans and tomatoes can be quite severely checked by a very cold night.

            My tomatoes and beans also have white patches on their leaves from being in the growhouse in strong sunshine. This was the reason why my Sungold tomatoes spent just 1 day in the growhouse before being planted in the soil outside.
            A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy


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