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hardened enough?

Posted by njitgrad NE NJ (My Page) on
Sat, May 11, 13 at 8:35

Since May 1st I have been hardening my seedlings off, using a pretty erratic schedule because of my changing daily schedule and the stretch of sunny dry weather we had last week. For the most part I was keeping them in the shade longer and longer each day, occasionally giving them direct sunlight for an hour after 7pm.

On day 9 I left them on my patio table under the umbrella all day long. They received direct morning sunlight until noon and then where sheltered from direct sunlight by the umbrella after that point. I even left them out intentionally over night. I brought them in last night and am keeping them inside because of the threat of heavy t-storms today.

My tomatoes, cukes, peppers, and eggplants look very healthy but my basil seems to be getting a little questionable. Perhaps because they're not as mature as the rest of my seedlings. I'm thinking since Sunday is supposed to be mostly sunny and since I am planning on planting everything in the ground Tues or Wed, would it be a good idea to leave them in my garden (where they will eventually be planted) for the entire day? It will be day 12.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: hardened enough?

I would do half day in full sun...then see how they do. Basil is extremely tender so check it often.

RE: hardened enough?

"For the most part I was keeping them in the shade longer and longer each day, occasionally giving them direct sunlight for an hour after 7pm."

I'm confused by your schedule. Why would you give them more time in the shade each day, as opposed to more time in the sun? I can see starting them off in moderate shade, then moving them to light shade, then dappled sun, then full sun, over the course of several days, but how will limiting their sun to only a few hours on Day 9 get them ready for full sun in the garden by Day 12? Are you planning to continue to shade them for part of the day for the first week they are in the garden, providing less and less until they are in full sun all day?

For the basil, I'd continue to harden them off and not plant them yet. If they can't take a few hours of morning sun, they certainly won't be able to handle full afternoon sun in the garden.

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