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harden off seedlings

 
pioneer
Posts: 73
Location: Douglas County, WI zone 4a 105 acres
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Anxiety-filled day, putting all my baby plants outside!!
Zone 4 ... they've been started inside with giant S-facing window ... are big and blooming (squash & cukes) ... cloned tomatoes have been giving for a month.
ANYWAY, do you think 1-layer lite row cover is enough shade ... PLUS I have made wind protection with bags of leaves.
Sorry for no pix, but most everything is in its third pot from seed and sitting together in their "bins" for bottom-watering.
I'm hoping to be able to just leave the row cover for a week before transplanting.
Tomatoes are in a different arrangement, where I can flip the cover on and off.
No frost or freeze expected in forecast - we are done as far as average. But midday SUN is already brutal!
Thanks very much for best advice ... good luck to ALL!
 
pollinator
Posts: 784
Location: North Carolina zone 7
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Sounds like you have it covered with the wind and sun protection. I have been able to take plants from a covered porch straight to the ground while skipping the intermediate stages. I use wind protection when needed and screens from windows, cola crates, cut in half milk jugs and flower pots. Anything will work but the row cover may be better than anything.
 
steward
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Are you sure you're ok for tonight???  Frost warnings in my area and you're in a similar climate (I think).

I've gotten to putting my seedlings out to a spot with a bit of shade during the middle of the day.  Under some leafing out apple trees is perfect.  Then I move them out from under the tree each day till they're in full sun.

Or if I'm lazy I just set them out in full sun when the forecast is for 3 days of overcast weather.

These are coming from a greenhouse where they're getting 75% of full sun as they grow.
 
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, USA
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In my experience, different seedlings need different treatment. I started comfrey too early and they were a good size when it was time to harden off, but they needed constant attention. In the first week they couldn’t last an hour most days. They hardened off very slowly.

This year’s seedlings from the greenhouse were fine with half a day, then a whole day outside. Finally quit all that and stuck ‘em in the ground.
 
Mary Beth Alexander
pioneer
Posts: 73
Location: Douglas County, WI zone 4a 105 acres
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Yes, Mike - I was a little worried when my son and I quit our gabfest at midnite, and it was 38 already! Frost warning for Iron Range, but we're 10 miles due South of the head of the lake - 41 was expected low. ANYWAY, the answer to my question is: one layer of that thin row-cover IS NOT enough for sun protection - got quite a bit of sunburn, but doesn't look fatal. Oddly, okra was worst affected - but probably due to spraying with insecticidal soap same morning I took them out. DUMMY. Got problem with aphids in the house this Winter. Don't know why - stunted/killed all my nice cole seedlings before I realized what was wrong. Only spread to peppers, okra, and sweet potatoes - but I was able to save. Used only new, clean potting soil - but some of my pots were re-used from last year, though they were never outdoors last year except for transplanting..
I only bought that row-cover last year for insect protection and never used it - can't remember how they described the thickness. We have no shady spots, as you describe.
All my "pots" are "recycled" yogurt, cream, etc containers ... should I wash them every Fall? ... with what?
Thanks to "neighbor" Mike and anybody else who wants to advise.
 
Mike Haasl
steward
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Wow, lucky lady...  My basil, tomatoes, marigolds and kiwis got nipped and it hit 32.  All were covered with buckets except the kiwi.  But I think we're through the cold now (as I'm recovering from wheel barrowing 10 cubic yards of wood chips on a hot day).  If I wanted it to be 89 degrees on June 2nd, I'd move to Illinois.  Sheesh.
 
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