Hardening Off My Cole Crops

We’ve had a bit of mild weather, and my grow box is getting a bit full, so I’ve started hardening off my cole crops so that I can plant them out in a week or two. If I were to plant them out without hardening them first, they could be shocked by moving them from a luxurious warm grow box to a windy, cold, and harsh outdoor environment.

7-Grow Box

My grow box is just packed with seedlings. The largest of these are kale, cabbage, and broccoli, all of which are cole crops. Cole crops, or plants of the mustard family, tend to be cold tolerant, so I should be able to plant them out soon. I’m also hardening off chives, which are pretty tough as well.


These little kale plants, however, have grown up in a box where the light is never too dim or too bright, with no wind or animals knocking them over, and with perfect humidity. In other words, they are spoiled.


Putting them outside for an hour or two every day (out of the harshest elements) helps them adjust to the conditions they’ll face in the garden once they’re planted. The wind beat them up a little bit, but I didn’t lose any plants. I’ll keep putting them out for a bit every day I can, and make the time longer every day until I can just leave them outside. This is called “hardening off”, and once it’s complete all of these plants can take a frost.


My basil is growing well. All of the seedlings have their first true leaves. I will have to separate them a bit once they crowd each other too much. Basil is sensitive, so I can’t plant it outside until after last frost.

1-Carrot Rows

I planted carrot seeds yesterday. There are ten rows here, spaced at two inches. Assuming two inch spacing within each row as well, that would be some 240 carrots. I don’t think we’ll get quite that many, but who knows! The thing about carrots is that the seeds take a long time to germinate (up to a month) so it’s good to plant them as early as possible.


So,now I have carrots and beets in the ground. I’m going to plant arugula today!

6 thoughts on “Hardening Off My Cole Crops

  1. Anna Bender

    I wish I could plant seeds inside but the last time I did that the cat nipped off the tops of every single plant (including my precious blue tomatoes). I only have one spot in my house that the cats can’t get to and it is too dark.

  2. The Homesteading Hippy Post author

    I’m sorry to hear about your plants. Is there a way to put a cage over them? I use an aquarium as my grow box, and I could easily put a screen lid on it if I needed to. Then again, some cats are very determined. I don’t have a cat right now, but I would love to get one…
    ~The Homesteading Hippy


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