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I got a burst of energy a few weeks ago and started off lots of seeds in the conservatory. They've grown really well, especially the runner beans which are desperately in need of something to grow up. They are already a couple of feet tall.<br><br>
Do you think they would be OK to go straight outside or do I need to do it gradually, if so how gradually.<br><br>
I've been keeping the door and window open so they get some draft and are not too hot
 

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Some plants are super sensitive to temp changes. I try to put them out during the day,and bring them back in during the night. BUT I usually forget.So for me it is not so important.If I had something really expensive,or a plant that I started growing in winterI would be more careful,because there would not be enough time to start over.<br><br>
In the least I would put out one or 2 plants and see how well they do without the hardenning.
 

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I've done it both ways. Honestly, the ones I didn't harden off did survive the "shock" of being put outside and planted all at once, but they did sort of droop, fade, and otherwise struggle for about a week. I think that it was the wind, more than the temp change, that really shocked them. Plants I've hardened off generally look happier right away. However, in the long run, I've not noticed much of a major harvest difference in plants I treated rudely and those I pampered.
 

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Generally, I get sick of having my plants inside the house before last frost, so they get hardened-off by being put outside the garage side door during the day and hauled into the garage at night. I moved my tomatoes, pumpkins, basil, and planted cantaloupe and cucumbers in peat pots yesterday, and they are all in this stage. None of those should be in the ground for at least 15 days around here yet, but I'll haul them in-and-out of the garage each day, and if any day is too cold, they can stay in.
 

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If you do deside to plant them without hardening them first I might give them some light cover during the day to protect from the scortching sun, drying wind and leave it on at night to protect the plants from a chill.
 

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I could use some help with hardening off...<br><br>
Last year, when I tried to harden off my babies, they almost all died. Post-mortem analysis, I think I 'burned' them by giving them too much sun too soon. So when I read these posts about folks just leaving their plants outside all day and bringing them in at night, I'm all like "What the???"<br><br>
This year I'm being more careful. Hardening off 'officially' started last week (last frost is May 20). So far, all I've done is open the patio doors and leave them behind the screen door, so they're getting a little sun and the fresh air. An hour one day, a couple hours another day... no more than that yet.<br><br>
And yet... already, several of them are getting 'crispy' around the edges of the leaves, the same as happened last year.<br><br>
What am I doing wrong???<br><br>
FWIW, the ones that survived being burned last year (I probably killed about 1/3 of my babies) did eventually recover, but I probably lost a month's growing time. They dropped a lot of leaves, and had to basically 'start over'. I had a good harvest but not GREAT, and the season ran out before the fruiting did... They're so nice and healthy right now, I don't want to lose any growing time!
 

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work with the temp. and air change first then move to the light differences, keep them in the shade if need be to get them used to being a little chillier than in a nice warm house.<br><br>
If you have a window that gets sun, get a sheer curtain if it's blasting bright and try the plants there for a few days, then go to opening the curtain during the non glare part of the day, finally to the full force sun through the window.
 

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See that's pretty much what I've been doing. They've actually been against the patio doors all along, the only difference is that I'm opening the door so they get air. We don't have any windows that get "full sun", but these doors get the most, and they've always been there. So they're not getting any more real sun than they're used to.<br><br>
And yet after just a couple days and a few hours with the air -- no real temperature change either (they were beautiful warm days) -- the points of some of the leaves are browning, just like it started last year.
 

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You might want to check water levels. With air blowing over them, little six pack sized plants can dry out in less than an hour. That's why you see the staff at Home Depot or your local nursury basically watering their plants all the time. And they need to eat too, so make sure you've fertilized them recently.
 

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Oh yes, that's done and done. They're moist (but not waterlogged) and well-fed. That's why I'm stymied.<br><br>
I have another hardening off question though... if we have several days in a row of cold and rain, what happens? I assume I don't put them outside in that... Do I then have to 'start over' with the hardening off, or do they 'remember' the bit of sun they had already and pick up where they left off? What if you get 2 weeks in a row of cold and wet, how do you harden off at all?
 

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I honestly am more likely to kill plants trying to harden them then I lose just planting them. Hardening off for me looks like one or two days outside in the shade and wind (in at night) before being planted in the garden. So maybe I'm not the best authority on the subject. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 
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