My babied seedlings of tomatoes and peppers have had a rough go of making it to the garden. For weeks I did really well. Watering when slightly dry, timing their artificial grow lights, repotting when necessary. Then I try to set them outside to acclimate a little and boom! I let them dry out too much, then they get sunburned, the children water them too forcefully and the dog topples all of them over. Good grief! So now I’m attempting some resuscitation to see who will make it out of my 20-some little plants. That would’ve been too many for our garden plot but now I’m hoping I have a 1/2 dozen of pepper and tomato each to put out some time this week.
Seedlings you do at home need time to toughen up to the outdoor conditions: wind, sun, night and day temps, all are much more severe than the conditions in your home, garage and in some instances the greenhouse where you purchased them.
What I should have done to acclimate them:
- Mimic the sun time they will have with my artificial lights a couple weeks out
- Start setting them out in a shady spot during the day when the temp is 65 and above
- Move them to a sunnier location where they will get just a couple hours of sun
- Slowly increase their time in the sun an hour or two each day until they are staying in the sun for a full 8 hours
- Plant them in the garden when the nights are only getting down to the high 50s or 60s (right now!)
Oh well, this is the most success I’ve had starting my own seedlings anyway so I’ll chalk this up to another lesson learned the hard way.