Imagine that you're a snow bird who has been snowed in all winter, and is excited to have your vacation to a tropical island coming just around the corner. There's only one problem-- there's no sunscreen anywhere! What could you do to make sure you have a great vacation, instead of feeling like a strawberry two days in? Enter the tanning salon. If you can get "pre-tanned" and be used to the sun's harsh UV light before you arrive at your tropical paradise, you'll be in much better shape.
You can do the same for plants! We grow our plants in optimal conditions, so they're sure to be as happy and healthy as they can be when they arrive at your doorstep. In the hot summer months, this can be like arriving at your tropical vacation without sunscreen (there's not any plant sunscreens we know of yet!). Don't fear, there's a technique you can do to help "pre-tan" your plants. It is called hardening.
Plant hardening helps your plants get used to the sun and your local microclimate to help them be as happy and healthy as possible when they're starting off in your garden. We highly recommend it if the temperatures will be over 80 when you're getting started, though you can do it in any season or to have some temporary plant storage if you're not ready to plant yet.
The best thing is it's really easy! Here's the steps:
Set your plants upright in their trays
Add a little water (up to 1/2") to make sure the roots stay moist. Keep an eye to make sure there's always just a little water in the trays.
Set the plants on one side of your house where they'll get sun half the day. This helps them get used to the sun without having to be in it all day long.
Leave them there to get "pre-tanned" for up to five days. We've found three days to be great.
Once you've done this, plant them in their final home in your garden. They'll be nice and tan, ready to produce you some delicious food!
- Gradual Sunlight Increase- If you want some extra credit, instead of leaving them to "pre-tan" in the same spot where they'll get sun half the day, you can start by placing them somewhere where they'll get 2 hours of sun the first day. You'll then keep giving them more sun so they'll get about two hours extra sunlight every day. This is even better for the plants since it helps them gradually increase the amount of sun they're getting.
- Desert/ very hot areas- If you live in the desert and are in the peak of summer, we recommend that you plant in a partially shaded area or that you install a covering for your plants to help reduce the sun's strong rays. This will help the types of plants that are more sensitive to strong sun to continue to produce well. Please reach out to our customer service team if you'd like more help with this.