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Hardening won’t be hard

The May long weekend usually signals it’s time to move seedlings thathave been growing indoors outside into planters and gardens. 

The May long weekend usually signals it’s time to move seedlings that have been growing indoors outside into planters and gardens.

This process is called transplanting. Before transplanting, it is wise to harden your plants to ensure they take to their new environment. DIY Network Canada’s Desperate Landscapes (weekdays at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT) offers a guide to hardening and transplanting.

Harden Up

Seedlings that were grown indoors under artificial light or on a window sill need to be acclimatized to the outdoors to ensure they continue to thrive in their new, harsher conditions.
This process is called hardening and is very simple. After the last frost, begin to place your seedlings outdoors for two to three hours at a time during the day.

Place them in a shady area that is protected from wind. Continue this for three days. After the third day, leave the plants outside for longer periods of time gradually building up to 10 hours. By day seven, seedlings can receive direct sunlight. Remember to bring them indoors every night. After two weeks, the seedlings are ready to be transplanted.

Transplant Away

Transplanting should be done on a cloudy day in the late afternoon to give the plants time to adjust to their new environment.

Also, consider bringing the container with the seedlings outside to the new pot or garden so the soil-to-soil move happens quickly. When ready to transplant, locate the root of the seedling. If grown in a container, the seedlings are likely to have formed a root ball. Break apart the root ball as gently as possible to avoid root damage. Lightly watering the soil can assist this process.

Dig a hole in the new pot or garden that is deep enough to contain the plant’s roots. Transfer the seedlings to the hole and pack the soil around the roots, leaving the soil loose near the top and water.

DIY Network Canada’s Yard Crashers airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT)

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