Imagine being able to pick fresh lemons, limes and oranges right from your patio! Read more »
Cutting overgrown grasses by more than an inch or two at a time can create unhealthy brown and bald spots in your lawn – or ev... Read more »
Kids are eager gardeners. They love to experiment with colorful flowers, have an adventurous sense of design, and getting dirt... Read more »
Our Shear Ease® Grass Shears include a patented mechanism that prevents the blades from jamming or sticking when you’re trimmin... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Hedge Shears, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear techno... Read more »
Our Easy-Pour Watering Can offers both capacity and control. The 2.6-gallon volume holds a generous amount of water that is eas... Read more »
Put your crafting skills to work and create a beautiful and unique fascinator that reflects your personal style. Read more »
“Painting” with tissue paper is not only fun but beautiful! Read more »
Mosaic tile frames are a beautiful way to display photos. Read more »
Designed for long, easy cuts down strips of Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that preve... Read more »
Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with a Squeeze Punch that makes every embellishment up to 2X easier to pun... Read more »
Designed for tight, precise cuts through Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Detail Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that p... Read more »
A colorful, roomy bag is just the thing you need to carry all your belongings for a day at the beach. Read more »
Keep the kids busy on a road trip with their own art bag full of inspiration and the essentials. Read more »
This easy pillowcase dress looks adorable with pretty fabrics. Plus, it is super simple to put together, even if you have not... Read more »
Only our Stitcher Scissors provide precision and control that meet the needs of the most demanding sewers and quilters. Micro-T... Read more »
Our Seamstress Scissors are the perfect all-purpose scissors for anyone who cuts fabric frequently. The smooth action of these... Read more »
Choose our Dressmaker Shears for long, smooth cuts through multiple layers of medium to heavy fabrics. Extra-long blades maximi... Read more »
Looking for a sure cure for bored kids - make sparkly sea creatures! Read more »
Open-ended activities like this Busy Book can keep kids occupied in the back seat of a car AND spark fun family conversations! Read more »
It doesn’t take much to turn an everyday snack into something a little extra special. It is great to see how quickly you can a... Read more »
Our Preschool Training Scissors features a special training lever that opens the blades after each cut, helping children learn... Read more »
Children love our Designer Non-stick Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the colorful handle patterns that make cutting fun and the non... Read more »
Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
The beautiful mood lighting of lanterns at outdoor gatherings is fabulous, so why not craft up a set to use this summer. Read more »
Treat your children to their own special tent hideaway, then stand back and watch as the fun and adventures begin! Read more »
Make a thoughtful gift for someone this summer! Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Great for beginners, the unique design of this tool makes cutting perfect shapes from fabric a breeze — since you’re not managi... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Hardening them off, of course!
Hardening off refers to preparing tender young plants for the harsher conditions of the outside world. Whether you begin seeds indoors in a brightly lit window or start them off in a greenhouse on a heating pad, young plants that have been coddled along will need some toughening up before they will have a fighting chance in the wilds of nature’s fickle spring weather.
A surprise hailstorm on a late spring day isn’t unheard of. Those pounding, frozen pellets of water can easily puncture and demolish young plants. Too, a heavy rain can do irreparable damage to delicate sprouts. Something as simple as moving a pampered plantlet from the warm, protected indoors to the cold, harsh outdoors, can cause irreparable damage – unless you transition your plants’ environments slowly. So, rather than risk losing your tender young babes and end up several weeks behind on your production schedule, take a few simple precautions to help them build a thicker “skin”.
When temperatures begin to warm during the day, gather up your tender plants, and place them in a protected, sunny outside spot for a few hours during the day. Then, before nightfall, move the plants back inside. Repeat this for several days, extending the number of hours your plants are left outside as the days go by. As you do this, you should begin to notice that the stems and leaves become thicker and sturdier as the days go by. After about a week of this indoor-outdoor-indoor rotation, you may be able to leave your plants outside overnight. Just be sure overnight temperatures won’t get anywhere near freezing and nothing harsh will be falling from the sky or blowing about. And, be sure to keep your young plants in a protected spot.
Season extenders are one of the best tools a gardener can employ for hardening off tender young plants. Passive greenhouses, hoop houses, and cold frames have the capacity to capture and hold warmth. This means they are ideal new homes for your sensitive seedlings. If you have access to one, try using it as your “protected location” throughout your hardening off period. Just be sure to vent it slightly during times – even cold days – when these structures may maximize sunlight rapidly and fry your plants. Venting will also keep air flowing, which helps reduce disease problems. And, venting will let in a bit of the outdoors to start training your youngsters to hold up under new conditions. Shutting these structures before nightfall will help hold heat and keep your plants from shocking out in the cold. And, in cooler, short-season climates, season extenders prove priceless for keeping your crops protected until warm weather really arrives for good. Plus, as the name suggests, they are great tools for growing much later in the year than nature itself might allow.
Next up in this series: Transplanting Your Starts to Their Final Destination
Last in this series: Potting Up: What, Why, When & How