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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Plants go outside for 4 to 5 hours a day as they prepare for a new life outside.

Preparing plants for the outside world

It is that time of year when the plants I started from seed starts to take over the living room. I think I have around 48 various tomato plants, eight various eggplants, 16 bush cucumber plants, 10 okra, 12 various types of pepper plants, a flat of sunflowers, 14 basil, three parsley, two sage and four dill. The fennel, cilantro, lettuce Swiss chard have already been planted.

I am in the process of hardening my plants. They go outside daily for a few hours each day to get used to unfiltered sun, wind and rain. I am up to 4-5 hours a day, but have started to leave out the cucumber, basil and okra.

My cucumbers are starting to have flowers so I am going to go ahead and plant one of the cucumbers in a big pot that is protected by the house. If it gets too cold again I can always cover it with clear plastic.

I accidentally left my cucumbers out overnight unprotected when it dropped down into the 30s. They looked dead the next day but soon recovered.

Journey through gardening season with Rosa Salter Rodriguez (feature writer), Anne Gregory (Web editor and writer), Frank Noonan (copy editor) and Cathie Rowand (photographer)