Many of our readers have gotten their spring garden going with our toilet paper roll seed starters and have been anxiously awaiting the next step. We're getting emails trickling in like, “Um, hello….what now?” Honestly, we really should have started hardening seedlings last month to get them ready for the intense heat of the summer. But if you're like us and you're running a little behind, now's the time!
I find it's a good practice to go through the steps of hardening seedlings with just about any little plant, whether you've grown it yourself or gotten it from the local nursery. It helps acclimate the plant to your outdoor atmosphere and weather that can be rather harsh after an extended stint in a greenhouse.
If you've grown multiple seedlings per starter, snip back all but the strongest one.
I just take regular craft scissors and cut the weaker-looking plants as close to the soil as I can get. This gives the other one room to stretch it's roots.
Load them up into a cardboard box (with a little room around each one for healthy air circulation), mark it and take it outside into a shaded area.
Cover them with plastic wrap the first couple of days to protect from wind, and slowly start easing them into the sun. Start with 3 hours per day, gradually increasing over a 10-day period. Water them well throughout this period.
Next you'll prepare your soil, eliminating weeds and getting it nice and soft with fertilizer before transplanting these babies! For decorative plants and flowers that aren't going directly into our nicely-prepared bed, we like to use Miracle-Gro's Moisture Control Potting Mix to further feed those delicate roots while they acclimate to the great outdoors.
Find more ideas from Miracle-Gro over at The Gro Project! Also, check out how Miracle-Gro is sharing fun garden projects over on Pinterest and using it as a forum for gardeners to come together and share gardening stories. What gardening projects are you currently working on?