No matter how many times I do it, growing plants from seed always seems like a magical process, all that potential in a tiny speck.
The seeds have grown into little seedlings and have so far led a cosseted life on the bedroom window-sill. The plant containers have had to be turned a couple of times a day to even up the growth as the seedlings lean towards the light.
They’re almost ready to be transplanted into bigger plant pots and sometime towards the end of May, when I’m confident that there won’t be a risk of frost, they can be planted outside. This varies depending where you live, the date will be later further north.
Before this permanent planting, they’re going to have to toughen up and get used to sun, wind, rain and temperatures that are variable.
This hardening off process takes about 14 days, listen to the weather forcast for a day when there won’t be any sunshine. A nice cloudy, still day is perfect in a shaded part of the garden, the dappled shade of a tree or a pergola makes a good place.
A couple of hours on their first day is plenty, repeat each day, placing them in a little more sunshine each time and gradually lengthening the time they spend outside.
After 10-14 days of this, the plants adapt and phsically change from a tall, lanky specimen into a tougher, stocky little plant. The leaves becomes slightly waxy too as a protection against the harsh outdoors.
The more tender the plant, the longer the hardening-off process takes, as you would imagine, half-hardy, tender plants take longer to acclimatise than hardy ones.
photos: Jill Anderson.