Hardening Off

Before moving the colourful pansies, primulas and veggie seedlings that have spent their lives so far in our greenhouse or on your sunny windowsill, take the time to acclimate them to life in the garden

1. Keep a note as to the transplant date. It usually explains that on the back of the seed package as every plant will be different. Keep the seedlings well watered.

2. Set the containers in a sheltered, shady spot outdoors. Start this about a week prior to the transplant date. A covered porch is an ideal starter spot (or a table or bench under a leafy tree). Bring the plants back inside at night or during the day if the weather turns cold, windy or rainy.

3. Expose the plants gradually to more sun. After two or three days, you can safely keep them in the sun for half a day, then return them to the shade. By the end of the week they’ll be tough enough to soak up the rays all day long.

4. Transplant the seedlings to the garden on an overcast day to ease the shock of transition from pot to ground. If a light mist is falling so much the better.