Just three weeks after sowing seeds in the greenhouse, it’s already getting to be time to think about transplanting these tender seedlings outdoors. The lettuce and kale sowed at the beginning of the year can be transplanted out next week, and the barese Swiss chard a week or two later. In preparation for transplanting, we’ll harden off the lettuce and kale seedlings this week by giving them some time outside to get exposure to cooler temperatures and wind, and by watering them a bit less frequently.
Hardening off is important for seedlings because moving them from a warm protected greenhouse straight into the real world, with all its wind, rain, and cooler temperatures, can be a shock. By hardening them off, they are gradually exposed over several days to life outdoors, which strengthens them and reduces stress after transplanting. Of course, looking at the weather forecast for the week ahead, all of the greenhouse babies will be bundled up Tuesday night; Wednesday morning we’ll wake up to a mid-20 degree overnight low, the coldest temp of the season so far.
We were able to harvest a variety of greens this week, including collard greens for the first time this season. As I’ve lamented before, they are only three months behind schedule this year. We’ll concede that the old saying “better late than never” holds true here too.