Hardening Off Seedlings

Photo of trays of seedings
Four trays of seedlings waiting for their time in the sun!
With a month to go until Boulder County’s average last frost date, it’s time to start thinking about hardening off cool-season crops! If you have season extenders like cold frames, row covers, or Wall-o-Waters, you can even harden off a few tomatoes and peppers too.

Why Harden Off?

Plants are wildly adaptable, which is part of the reason they grow all over the planet, inside and out. But that means that the structure of the plant itself (from the thickness of its stem to how open its pores are) is different based on whether it was started outside in the sometimes harsh and variable conditions of early spring or indoors where light, moisture, food, and wind are constant. You can replicate some outdoor conditions for your seedlings by directing a fan at the seedlings as they grow and by putting them somewhere where the temperature is a bit variable, but they’re still in for a shock when they move to your garden bed. Read more

Peas and bulbs and phlox, oh my!

a photo of crocuses
Our crocuses are finally in bloom! Gorgeous photo courtesy of Matthew Artz
Tomorrow April begins, and with it us Zone 5-ers can at least begin to expect warmer weather (I have just guaranteed, by making this statement, that we will get one more snow storm here in Colorado. Sorry!). Yesterday it hit 80 here for the first time and that warm weather following so closely on the heels of the moisture last week has caused a flurry of activity in the garden.

As such, I thought I’d divide this post into what you should be doing in the veggie garden and what you should be looking for (or potentially planting later in the season) in your flower beds. Seeing the first crocus of spring (which we had just this week–a full month later than usual!) is as exciting to me as seeing the first spinach and pea sprouts, and my recent posts have been so veggie-focused that I want to give flower gardening a bit of love today too! Read more