Searching for short cuts to the hardening off process I came across the 3 full days of cloudy overcast tip, and went for it. Problem was half way into the second day the clouds went away (while I was at work) and sunburned a lot of my seedlings.
I have more seedlings that need to go out. I don't trust the forecast. Today it's supposed to be 83 and partially cloudy. Well it's a bit hotter, and not a cloud in the sky. So I was thinking, what if I make a shade cloth tent to harden off my seedlings? My plan is to have the SC on the ground on the East, go up and across, and back down the west side. Open on the south and north. Large enough so the seedlings will never get unfiltered sun.
Give them 3 days in the tent, then on day 4 lift up the east side for unfiltered morning sun. Day 5 move the top so the get everything but afternoon sun. Day 6 should be ready to plant.
I would have preferred to do the 3 day method, but I just don't see us getting 3 overcast days in a row at this point. At least I don't have to constantly move a bunch of seedlings.
Has anyone done this way? I would love to hear thoughts and comments. Thanks
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” — Abraham Lincoln
Hardening off under shade cloth is pretty standard for certain crops. Generally it's a week under shade cloth before full sun exposure. I transfer my seedlings to my greenhouse that is covered with shade cloth prior to planting outdoors.
I have a batch of seedlings under a shade cloth at this very moment (my fall chinese cabbages, kale, some chard I rescued...). I can't rely on the weather, it may be overcast but that 15 minutes when the sun pops out is enough to fry everything and then it's back to square one.
I tie it up in a corner of my front yard as if I were putting up a tarp against rain. It gets me some odd looks but works great.
Right now I'm home quite a bit and keep my eyes on things. In the event that I'm working of have to be away while my plants are hardening off, I use the angle of the sun to my advantage. The back of my house faces east, so if I strategically place my plants close to the house, the shade it casts will do the job for me.
I'm currently hardening off my cool season transplants in hopes of getting them the ground soon.
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