Hardening Off Cruciferous Vegetables

Spring is almost here! Or, judging by the fact that it was 80 degrees one day last week, maybe it’s already here? I don’t know! But either way, I’m really excited about getting all of my seedlings out into the garden soon. Even though the last frost date for my area is next month, crucifers (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc.) can stand up to a little bit of cold, so the time to transplant them is now.

Hardening off cruciferous vegetables is the first step in transplanting them. As I mentioned in last week’s post about spring seed starting, hardening off means getting plants adjusted from growing in a controlled, indoor environment to growing outside. If you have a porch, this is the perfect place for hardening off your transplants.

We have a screened porch here, so on Sunday, I brought all of my crucifers out late morning, when it wasn’t too cool out and wasn’t too warm. When mid-afternoon rolled around, I brought them inside. On Monday, I brought them out an hour earlier and took them back in an hour later. I’m going to increase the amount of time I let the plants stay outside each day and then this Saturday, I’ll plant them in the garden.

This week I also planted my peas, bok choy, edamame and te you (Chinese kale). I’m planning on doing snap peas and bok choy in containers on the porch, so I planted those seeds directly. I started my snowpeas and edamame inside, in peat pots. You’re not supposed to start peas indoors, but I’ve had bad luck with direct-sowing in my garden, so I’m taking that chance. The te you is in my flat, with most of my other seedlings. Everything has sprouted now except the San Marzano tomatoes.

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