Hardening off and going in the ground!!

The weather has been a bit crazy lately- snow, wind, rain… but the more moisture the better right!

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It is actually really great to have your soils nice a wet before you do your planting on May 15th ( last frost date in Santa Fe and most Zone 6 areas).  You never want to plant into mud, because walking on soppy soils can compact the soil and create a hardpan…. but moist is good!  SO this weekend should be perfect for planting!  Most of us will be planting Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplants, Cucumbers, Zucchini, and the like which are all fruits… and this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are all Fruit days according the the bio-dynamic calendar.

I know what I want for Mothers Day!! ( Help in the garden of course!) IMG_6537

If you haven’t started hardening off your transplants- start today!! Put those babies out in the rain! I actually moved my tomatoes out to this shady table last week.  IMG_6381At night I haven been covering them with row cover and often leave it on in the very direct sunny morning hours…Row cover is also great for crazy hail storm protection too!IMG_6417

I forgot about them some time a couple of days ago and they have been faring the nights just fine and are doing great!  They are jumping out of their pots so Mother’s Day I will be planting all day!IMG_6538

Once you have toughened your plants up to being outside it is important to baby them a bit more after planting.  Even though they may be hardened off, they are still so tender and juicy that they can get eaten, sun baked, wind blown or even pummeled with hail!… So take simple precationary measures.  You can put them under row cover or use simply use a handmade cloche to protect them till they get rooted and established in the garden.

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Glass Cloche for sale in Italy

My very simple homemade cloche is a sparkling water bottle I pulled out of the recycling can and cut the bottom off.  I have used these for years!!

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Milk Jugs are even better cause they are a bit bigger and have that nice translucent plastic that filters the light a bit and keeps the plants a tiny bit cooler.  Whatever you use, you need to make sure to take the cap off too so the hot air flows out, otherwise your little plants will bake themselves to death in the mini greenhouses!IMG_6549.JPG

Leave these on and water in and around them until the plant is too big to fit. Here are a few posts from years back on Hardening off, Row Cover, Spring Greens and Creative Shade covers, Transplanting tips and of course Tomatoes!!

Get ready for a big planting weekend!  And of course Happy Last Frost Day!!!

 

 

2 thoughts on “Hardening off and going in the ground!!

  1. Your plants are looking great!! And I love that idea for using milk jugs/selter water plastic containers. Last year I didn’t harden my tomato plants off well and when I finally planted them, they looked like they were going to die for several days. This year, I’ve taken your advice (a few hours the first day, gradually increasing, left them out overnight a few nights). I put them in a few days ago (a bit early, I know!) and they’re doing SO MUCH BETTER this year. They barely reacted to being transplanted. Thanks again for all of your advice and for this blog! I use it often. Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday! Happy Planting!

  2. Also, I’m reading Four-Season Harvest (you mentioned it in a blog post). Wow. I’m blown away and so excited by all of the information. I’m taking lots of notes. Thanks again!

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