I was hardening off my tomato plants, got them up to 6 hours outside with most of that sunny and 60's. The past 2 days have been all rainy so they haven't gone out. Do I have to completely start the process over???
No, just continue as you normally would. 2 days inside isn't going to set you back. Why didn't you put them out in the rain?
I'm with Ed on this one, they are going to get rained on eventually (hopefully, not too much or too little like some years in the past) and that would be a part of the hardening off process for my plants. Unless it was likely to hail, and then I'd just cover them with shade cloth to protect them from a direct hit.
Ed, I'm in zone 5b like you and because of the incredible weather, I started to harden off my plants. We're supposed to get rain on Thursday with temps dropping from high 70's to about 58. I was planning on bringing them in because I was worried it might rain too hard and be too much for them. Betsy, I'm thinking maybe I'll stick them under the patio table for protection. I'm assuming the change in temp will be okay for them.? The mornings have been cool so they have been exposed to a range. I'm giving them filtered sun, not more than an hour or so of direct sun.
I'm actually looking forward to cloudier, cooler, rainier weather so I can remove my WOW's.......probably tomorrow or Thursday. The plants need a break. Have been hesitant to remove the protection in the blazing sun and 80 degrees like it was today. Have barely seen a cloud for the past week.
We're supposed to get a lot of rain and night time temps will drop to about 50F but Saturday and Sunday night temps will be about 40. There are thunderstorms predicted for tomorrow. My plants have been out for a couple of days and I left them out last night. Right now they are under the table on my patio. I'm debating about bringing them in or leaving them out. Tomorrow is still supposed to be warm? For sure I am bringing them in when it gets to 40F. Some if them are 6" tall. Advice?
I have to disagree with the others just a bit. This in and out, in and out doesn't result in hardened off plants. They keep having to readjust to a degree and all it does is stress them. You not only change their light exposure and the light spectrum but the humidity, the temperatures, the air circulation, etc.
Once is one thing, several times is something else again. Once plants are out and doing well they need to stay out and you adjust the conditions for them accordingly.
If it rains they stay out but protected (as with the table) they don't come back in. If the temp falls to 50 they are fine, lower, you cover them - outside. Put a thermometer at their level not what the weatherman says.
We can create all sorts of protected environments for the plants so that once they are out, they can stay out. The alternative is to wait to even begin the hardening off process until the weather stabilizes and they can remain out once hardened off.
Thank you so much Dave! This is my first time growing from seeds, I thought I was supposed to take them back in the house because they say to start off slow. I read so many conflicting things, it gets confusing!
When they say start off slow, they mean start with shade, then gradually increase the amount of full sun that the tomatoes get until they are in the sun all day. Then plant them. Like Dave I never bring mine back in once they go out. I have too many plants to move that much! I use shade cloth of a couple of different densities and gradually adjust it so that the tomatoes are getting more direct sun each day.
Don't misunderstand - you do start slow - an hour or 2 at a time - and you do go in and out for the first day or maybe 2 depending on how they tolerate it.
But once they have adjusted and doing ok - and you said they tolerated 6 hours out for a couple of days so that is adjusted - they stay out.
It isn't so much that there is conflicting info, just that no one can write specific details on how-to do it because there are too many variables that only you can know - size of container, type of plant, age of plant, amount of sun exposure on your property, your weather, your air temps, your wind direction and speed.
So each individual has to evaluate the differences between the in environment and the out environment and plan accordingly.
Mama has to cut the apron strings but she has to do it gradually and with thought and planning. Once done, she can't then turn around and tie Junior back up to her hip again. :)
That is exactly what I was doing, taking the kiddos out and back in....maybe that is many look a little stressed w lower leaves yellowed. And they r not being over watered. All the newer growth looks good.