Has anyone used the laundry basket method for hardening?

lori_ny(5)June 13, 2014


After losing 1/3 of my seedlings to sunscald, I researched other methods for hardening seedlings. One lady on youtube uses a rectangle laundry basket and places it over the seedlings for 1 week and then takes it off for increasing hours in the second week.

Has anyone tried this method and did it work?

I'm trying to find a method for next year. I work until 4 pm six days a week. I don't have a garage or porch or covered deck.

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That sounds feasible as it would block the midday sun which would be the most damaging!

So sorry that you lost one third of your seedlings. I hope the laundry basket idea works for you next year.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:15AM
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How are you going to take the laundry basket off to increase the sun if you're not home until 4pm?

Can you find a spot that only gets morning sun (north or east side of a building or large tree), put the plants there to harden off after a day or 2 in complete shade, then each day inch them out to the west/south a little so they get a little more sun each day? That's what I do so I don't have to run out each morning or afternoon to move a bunch of plants?

I am thinking of trying the laundry basket (actually just pots) to "harden off" my plants after transplanting this week - they just haven't seen much sun these past 2-3 weeks that I've been trying to harden them off and it's getting late to plant, can't really take the time to wait for Mother Nature to cooperate. So I'm planting the more-hardened and hardy tomatoes tomorrow (POURING today, I think we're getting that 2" dump you just got, Linda) and will try to shade them with pots for Sunday when it's bright and sunny. The more delicate, less-hardened peppers will be planted on Monday when it will be overcast again, trying the pots to shelter them if necessary though I'm going to try to give them a little more sun over the weekend (don't know how much they can tolerate after so many overcast days in a row). I'll let you know how it goes.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:34AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The laundry basket method is the one discussed in the FAQ here on "How to harden off plants" so yes, it and similar set-ups have been used and yes it works when you only have a few plants to do.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:45AM
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You just need to get a bit creative if you have no shade...a portable folding table...even a cheap table from a thrift store if funds are tight. An outdoor deck chair, etc.
They sell the folding deck chairs at my local market for something like 7dollars.
(then you have an ugly chair, lol...or an ugly laundry basket)
---i like the those plastic lounge ones but i made cotton covers for them...
A laundry basket would certainly work fine. Cuts down on sun exposure as the sun moves across. Still lets in air, keeps critters out....if a hard rain comes while at work, it will soften the downpour...a hot sunny day you could top it with a thin white cloth, fastened with clothes pins or clips as an extra shade cloth...

I made shade frames for my beds for newly seeded crops to cover all those needs...
So it is possible to make something nicer looking pretty cheaply but needs a handy DIY toolbox.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 10:32AM
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I'd love to see pictures! What did you make your shade frames out of? Thinking of doing something to shade the east side beds in the tunnel (I know they will get some shade from tomatoes in the center) to try to grow lettuce during the summer. I hate having salads without tomatoes in the spring, but then by late summer/fall I have to buy lettuce to go with all the tomatoes I have! Might work for cilantro too...

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 10:51AM
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I'll take some pics this weekend...I'm in the city now...garden is up in the mountains...

Visualize a square wood picture frame with wood slats nailed across, then 15" legs attached in each corner...sits right over the beds that need it...salads and cilantro need it the most.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 11:00AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

GoogleImages has hundreds of pics of various types of shade frames for hardening off plants or for the gardens. They can be as big or as small as you need them to be.

The Garden Structures forum here also has lots of ideas and suggestions. Just requires a bit of imagination.


Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening shade frames

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 11:56AM
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I have wire hoops and row cover (not shade cloth but could buy some), I was just interested in seeing the "nicer looking" ones sleevendog made.

I have to measure but I was thinking of using some of the old windows left over after we build the end walls in the tunnel to cover the beds to start seed there next spring, if they're the right size. Beds are only 2ft wide so I'm sure most of them are at least that wide.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 1:48PM
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