Early to mid April was hot and it lured me in! The cold temperatures here in Connecticut of the past week or so haven’t really done any harm, but I am glad I resisted the urge to get tomatoes going. It doesn’t really help all that much to get the warm-weather plants like tomatoes and peppers going too early, but it just feels good to get them in the garden.
Today I started hardening off my transplants. I put out about 7 tomatoes, 3 peppers and a couple of others for the first phase. Hardening off gets your plants used to the outdoors, the temperature variations, shade to sun, and wind. Here’s the way it usually goes:
1. I prefer to harden off only when it’s 50 or warmer. Avoid rainy or windy days in the earliest stages.
2. Day 1 to 3 I place the plants outdoors for about 30 minutes. Don’t put them in direct sun.
3. Day 4 I move it up to about an hour. I give them a little bit of sun.
4. Move the time outside up each day over the next two weeks until the plants stay outside for a whole day and night.
5. Once you’ve got them hardened off, they’ll take to the transplant into the garden much better.
Here’s a video from expertvillage that’s pretty close to the way I do it.