Hello, I have grown tomato plants from seed for the first time ever, but completely forgot about hardening them off. They look good and healthy, are about 8 inches tall with nice leaves. I've potted them up recently so they each have their own pot. Popped them outside today (there's a gentle breeze) but they all started to flop over immediately so I rushed them back inside! What's the best way to strengthen them without destroying them?
Floppy Tomato Plants
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Hardening off is all about making the plants tougher, so they'll have to stand up to a gentle breeze eventually whether they like it or not. And as long as they don't snap, a little big of wind might be good for them.
To get them started, though, try to keep them out of direct sunlight and wind (even breeze) when you put them outside. And put them outside for a little longer every day. If they lasted for 5 minutes today, try for an hour tomorrow. The next day try for two. If the weather is too windy or cold, skip a day. Better safe than sorry.
This article will tell you all about hardening off seedlings: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/propagation/seeds/how-to-harden-off-your-seedlings.htm