[IGS] Hardening Off Seedlings
Hi, Collin (and the rest of the IGS Robin),
I garden in southern Florida (USDA Zone 10) and grow a wide variety of
plants including various cacti, succulents and caudiciforms.
With regard to growing seedlings, whenever possible, I try to start
seedlings outdoors so that I do not have to go through an extensive
hardening off period.
Basically, I use two techniques. One is to start seeds in full sun in
the autumn after the first cold fronts have come through and the weather
has cooled off somewhat. By the time the heat of summer comes along,
the seedlings have had an entire autumn, winter and spring of growing
outdoors and are more than ready to take whatever heat and sun the
summer can throw at them.
The other method is to start seeds outdoors in late spring or early
summer in a site that gets an hour or two of morning sun. This works
because the early morning sun is not nearly as fierce. As the seedlings
mature, I gradually shift them so that they get more and more sun.
Hardening off is easy since, from their birth, they were already exposed
to an hour or two of sunlight. I had to study my property carefully and
diligently observed the pattern of sunshine throughout the day until I
found just the right spot that got morning sun but was shaded the rest
of the day. However, once I found the correct spot, nearly all
seedlings that I start in pots at that location take off, even if I
start them in the middle of summer.
The above methods have worked with a variety of pelargoniums including
both summer and winter growers. Since you are able to overpot seedlings
into 10 gallon containers, I imagine you must have ample space. Perhaps
you too have just the right spot to start seeds off outdoors without
having to go the hazards of hardening off delicate
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