Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Lesson in Hardening Off

Sounds like a class aimed at porn set Fluffers, but alas this kind of hardening off is not that racy.

Sometimes I am amazed at how far I will go to cut corners. The truth is, I'm kind of a crappy gardener that way. I blame it on being a fire sign and elementally in opposition to growing things. I can say that because I live in California, where talking about your astrological chart in general conversation is as requisite as submitting a C.V. to a prospective employer. Fire signs have a tendency to burn things. You should see me in the kitchen. I'm notorious for burning food and/or myself. I also have a lot of air in my chart. And wouldn't you know it, this past week I burned up all my transplants with wind. You'd think that a year in private astrology lessons would have at least enhanced my self knowledge. Nope.

So here's the really dumb ass thing that I did. After diligently caring for trays of seedlings over the course of several weeks, I was eager to get them into the ground as they were clambering for more nutrition and root space. In my over excitement, I skipped that oh so crucial step of slowly transitioning the plants to the outdoors by giving them increasing levels of outside time over the course of a week or so, i.e., hardening off. The transplants might have been okay in a moderate weather setting, but when you've got a gale that could shame the north wind on the Gitche Gumee, you'd be a poor sailor to set your transplants adrift in that gusty blow. I am, sadly, such a woeful sailor, casting my defenseless sprouts upwind, like Captain E.H. Smith giving his final orders to leave the ship. This is the wreckage:

I would estimate that at least 50% did not make it and would be surprised if there were any survivors in the end. Fortunately, most transplants were peas and as I've said before, we live in a year round pea growing climate.


  1. Doh! I'm just as bad. I hardly ever harden off. The closest I come is moving them from the mini greenhouse out to work bench for a few days before planting them. No transition at all.

  2. I think you're awesome for starting from seeds. I can't manage that. I end up buying 6 inch plants from the nursery, that's the only way I get survivors.

  3. That new playhouse/greenhouse would be ideal. Yes, the wind is VERY hard on tender plants. If I remember, I always had better luck with the purchased plants. We did try starting our own but...I think they met with the same fate as yours.

  4. *Ding! ding! ding!*

    That post title and first line is what made me want to follow your blog. I like you already.

    I'm Kyna, btw. Come check my blog out, you have a sense of humour, so you might like it. :)