Harden off edibles

Help your baby plants get ready for the great outdoors.

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Most plants you buy when they are young, or those you’ve grown to baby stage at home, will need a period of acclimatisation to outside weather. Plants are sown or grown indoors into a false environment, so they’ll just need a period of time to adjust to the real world outside!

Environmental shock and unexpected plummeting temperatures can put paid to all your new little plants, so tease them in gently, before planting them out properly from next month. A little bit of wind is good too, which will help strengthen plant stems. The more tender plants, and those sown into warmer conditions, will need more hardening off than hardier types.

Depending on how many plants you have to harden off, you can bring them in at night, or if you have lots leave them outside and fleece them well.

It takes about two or three weeks to properly harden off plants, but do it for longer if you live in colder regions of the country, and leave it later to plant out if bad weather is forecast. Here are some key tips to successful hardening off.