Will I need to harden off my plug plants?

We won’t be sending vegetable plants for a few more weeks, in late April and through May, but it’s good to get an idea of their needs ahead of their arrival as some of the more tender crops, like tomatoes, cucumbers and squashes will need a little extra care if planting outside while it’s still somewhat chilly weather.

Hardening off your plants is a good idea if you can do it easily, however, many of our customers receive a lot of plants in one go and it would be quite a tricky process to sort them all out so that you can harden them off. Luckily, there are some easier ways to make sure you don’t lose plants to frost and cold weather.

Option 1 – Don’t plant outside immediately:

You can plant into small pots and grow on in a greenhouse for a few weeks, or you could temporarily plant into a bag of compost in a greenhouse or similar (you can see this video for some ideas) – then plant out once all risk of frost has passed. When you do plant out, we would recommend covering the following plants with fleece or a cloche for the first few days.

(If you are planting in a greenhouse, you do not need to worry, this is only for planting outside)

  • Beans – French, Runner & Borlotti
  • Peas – Mangetout, Sugarsnap, Garden
  • Sweetcorn
  • Winter Squash & Pumpkin
  • Summer Squash/Courgette
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Aubergine
  • Chilli/Pepper

Other plants – lettuces, leaves, roots, brassicas, onions and leeks – should be fine to be planted out once frosts have passed and would not need fleece/cloche protection.

Option 2 – Delay your delivery:

If you receive your dispatch notification email and it’s frosty in your area, you can reply and request that we delay your delivery. We won’t be able to guarantee when your next delivery slot will be and it could be a few weeks, but if you don’t have greenhouse space and it’s frosty or you have very chilly winds, it might be a safer option to receive your plants a little later in the season.