Seedling Update and Tips on 'Hardening' Them.

It is time for a weekly garden update!

I'm so excited some new growth has sprouted this week, my eggplant seeds popped, my scallions have come through, and I see some green and red peppers starting to peek through the soil and teeny tiny celery! I cannot wait I've never grown eggplants before or green peppers from a seed. Also, my scallions didn't make it last year, so I'm hoping they'll do better this year too. Look at the little babies!

I started hardening my seedlings a couple of days ago. If you don't know what this means or not familiar with the concept, no worries, I got you. If you, like me, started your seeds indoors they need to be what's called "hardened" before you can transplant them outside. Because the seeds were started inside they didn't have to deal with any of the elements, so if you transplant them before they're hardened they won't make it in the garden, and you'll lose a lot of crops. To avoid that you want to harden them, and it's super easy. You take them outside for 7 to 14 days before you want to transplant them. This is usually the week or two before the last frost date.

First off you want to make sure that it's at least 45° outside when you do this. Start with 1 hour on the first day and add an hour every day, so by day 7 they'll be outside for 7 hours, continue if needed up to 14 days. For the first two to three days you want to keep them out of the Sun and away from intense wind exposure. I have mine inside our partially covered up screen house right now. That way they get a bit of a light breeze to start to toughen up their stems. You have the option to do this by hand inside by gently brushing over the tops of the plants, or even leaving a fan on low to give them a light breeze, if you can't get your plans outside. I put mine on a boot tray to easily take them outside. The following days you want to gradually expose them to more sun and wind. Once they're hardened and strong enough you can transplant. You want to do that on a cloudy day, and give them a nice drink of water after. When I did this last year I added fertilizer to the water as well. Then, you can enjoy watching them flourish in their new home.

I also started my herb seedlings. I want to be able to have a green witchy garden with herbs for cooking and healing. I'm super excited to try to grow lavender again this year and chamomile. I'm also growing sage, rosemary and thyme. It was the perfect rainy day to start them, and they even collected some rainwater for the seedlings later. It has lots of nutrients in it that are really beneficial to the plants and helps them grow strong. I'm going to try watering them with some Moon water as well, more on that here.

Kohl lent a helping paw again. Check out my new seedlings below. I chose purple cups to differentiate them from the herbs; plus it was the only ones we had haha. AND my mom got a money plant from the bank, so I planted that too. It's in the tiny pot.

Happy gardening!

Photo: Steph Dansereau