In gardening what is meant by hardening out?

UK User asks: In gardening what is meant by hardening out?
In gardening books it mentions hardening out ~ what does hardening out mean?

The answer voted best is:

Answer by patticharron
“Hardening out” is a gradual acclimatization to the conditions outdoors. It generally applies to seedlings that have been started indoors. When the weather improves, you move them outside or into a cold frame to “harden out.” You expose them to the outdoors for short periods of time, gradually increasing the exposure over 6 to 8 days or so. That way, when it’s time to transplant them, it’s not such a shock to them.

This article gives more info:

http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/Garden/harden.htm

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3 comments

  1. Hardening refers to when u have grown your seedlings indoors…before you plant in the ground, you should put the seedlings outside during the day (usually in the shade for the most of the day). By doing so you are hardening the roots and the plant to where it will be able to withstand the temp shifts of the outside compared to the climate controlled indoors…

  2. Hardening off is accomplished by exposing the young tender plants to increasing lengths of time outdoors in a protected location for one to two weeks. Once the plants are hardened off they can be planted out of doors as weather permits.

  3. Hardening off means taking seedlings and getting them used to the outdoor enviroment. Take your well established seedlings out when temps are above 50*F and bring them in for the night a couple hours before the sun goes down. Choose a location where they will be protected from winds and heavy rains. Depending on your zone, it can take a couple weeks to a month for them to properly adjust before putting into the garden. You can’t force them to adjust, so as a rule I always go an extra week or 2 before putting them directly into the garden. Hope this helps!

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