What is "Harden Off"

So you started your plants in your AeroGarden, but now you want to transplant them into pots or your outdoor garden. A relatively easy process, but when done without hardening off, some plants may not survive the transition, and no one wants that!

What our new video on how to Harden off your plants for the best possible success. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask, and we will include them in this blog for others with similar thoughts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKZ_d6EBv5w

If you want to start your plants indoors for your outdoor garden, we recommend using our Seed Starting Systems. They have more holes for our grow sponges, meaning more plants started for your garden. We recommend transplanting them before they get too large (over 3 inches) for two reasons. One, the roots will be smaller, making them easier to pull out of the deck without damaging them. Second, young plants survive the transplanting process much better than an adult plant would.

Please note that we sell the Seed Starting Systems for all our garden models. If you have a Harvest AeroGarden double check you are getting the right deck for the right model. We have our Harvest Classics (older models) and then we have our Harvest Gardens (newer models, 2018+) They are not interchangeable.

22 thoughts on “What is "Harden Off"”

  • caroline Barrett-Cramer April 15, 2020 at 5:53 am

    I am so delighted with the aero garden pod kit I received as a gift. The only problem is there are no instruction as to how I should transplant the pods when they have grown up to the lights level. Could you [please elaborate on the process and what the best way is to transplant them into a bigger pot.? thank you very much

    Reply
    • Hello Caroline,
      So glad to hear that you are loving your AeroGarden. It sounds like you want to transplant your plants now that they are fully grown and touching the light? If that is the case, then I actually do not recommend transplanting, because older mature plants are more likely to get shocked and do not have as much of a great survival rate. I would instead recommend trimming your plants (no more than 1/3rd) so that they are no longer touching the light, and to periodically trim them to keep them contained. If you do really want to try and transplant them, then please flood the soil when you do. You do not have to take the plastic basket off, but can cut if off very delicately.. I hope that helps!

      Reply
  • What time is best and how do I transplant in earth outdoors?
    Must I cut off the plastic the roots are in or just pull roots out?
    Must I keep the plants in lots of water the first few days it’s in organic earth?

    Reply
    • Hello Nicole, all great questions.
      We recommend transplanting outdoors when it is not too hot, or place in a shady location so the sun does not shock it right away. Depending on what plant it is, will depend on the time of season, a quick google search can let you know that.
      It is not necessary to remove the plastic basket if you believe the roots will be injured. If the roots are still small, you may easily be able to pull it through or gently cut it off, just be gentle with your plant, but it will not harm them if you plant the basket along with the plant.
      Yes! On the first day that you transplant to soil, make sure to flood the dirt, give that plant a ton of water. Then after that it is not necessary to water again until the soil has dried more.
      Hope all that information helps!

      Reply
  • Cyndi E MacLeod April 19, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    I have an aerogarden pro and have the original seed starting kit bought for it. Here's my question- what type of seed tray do I need to order and what do I need to order for food?

    Reply
    • Hello Cyndi,The AeroGarden you bought should have come with a seed tray, 3, 6, 9, or 12 holes depending on your model. If you wanted the Seed Starting Tray for more room for plants to be transplanted outside take a look at this link: https://www.aerogarden.com/accessories/garden-starting.html You will get plant food with every Seed Started Tray or Seed Pod Kit purchase but you can always order more here: https://www.aerogarden.com/accessories/liquid-nutrients.html
      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • Good morning,
    I started my seedling in my areogarden slim. I have tomatoes and peppers. The tomato grew to approx. 3 inches in 2 1/2 weeks and taking room from the pepper to grow. I would like to transplant them into potted soil indoors and harden them this way, to eventually plant them outdoors. what is the best soil to use?

    Reply
    • Hello Liane, that's so great to hear that you are ready to transplant your seedlings to soil. I don't have a full recommendation on which soil to buy, of course we use Miracle Grow soil, but you need to get the bag that fits your plan. They have soil for potted plants, or for flower beds, ect. So whichever method you plan on doing, will be the type of soil to get. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • Hello,

    I would like to transfer my herb garden to a potting soil that I will keep inside. Do you have any tips or recommendations on how to have a smooth transition?

    Reply
    • Hello, Great question, here are some tips. It is best to transplant your herbs when they are young, so around less than 4" tall. They tend to be less shocked from the transition at this time. Larger herbs can still be transferred, but don't always bounce back. When the herbs are transferred to their pots, make sure to flood the soil, really give it an absurd amount of water, and let it all drain out (best to do over a sink), then you can start giving it a regular water cycle. Make sure you do not place the pots in too cold or too hot of a place in your house. Some plants will wilt their first couple days, don't be alarmed, they should perk back up. Hope this information helps!

      Reply
  • Just got my garden yesterday and planted cherry tomatoes and salad greens immediately. Now I read in your tips that I should grow cherry tomatoes alone. Should I Remove the salad green pods?

    Reply
    • Hello Ron, great question. Which garden did you get? If it is a 3 or 6 pod, then yes I recommend just growing the tomatoes or just the lettuce. This will give either of the plants the room they need to thrive. If you are growing in a 9 pod garden, you will get better success sticking to one plant, but there is more room to grow both if you prefer. Just make sure that both plants are getting adiquite lighting, use your best judgement. If you have a 24 pod garden, grow them both! Make sure to cover all empty holes to prevent algae growth. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  • Gloria J Bell May 5, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    I have a Harvest Slim Aerogarden. Just used my 21 Seed Starting System for the first time. Planted the seeds 3 weeks ago and 8 pods have not germinated. In most of the pods, I used the same seeds. Can these pods be replaced?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hello Gloria, because they were your own seeds, we do not replace, but if they did not sprout you can just add more seeds into those empty pods! Hope this helps.

      Reply
  • Geraldine Gazzara May 7, 2020 at 2:50 am

    I need help in replacing the water in my herb garden

    Reply
    • Tina Edwards May 8, 2020 at 5:00 am

      Hello Geraldine! You can replace the water using a rinse and refill siphon, https://www.aerogarden.com/rinse-refill-siphon.html. To see how to use this, check out our video here: https://www.aerogarden.com/blog/how-to-use-our-rinse-refill-siphon/.

      You can also remove your grow deck and place it on the counter if your plants aren't too big. Then empty the water bowl and refill it (and replace the nutrients), then place the grow deck with your plants still in their pod holes right back on the garden.

      Good luck!

      Reply
  • Any tips of harvesting? For the basil, I have been cutting the leaves...with the parsley the same. Should I be cutting back to the base of plant? I would like to keep the garden flourishing.
    Need best tips please.

    Reply
    • Tina Edwards May 8, 2020 at 4:56 am

      Hello Kate! We have several posts about harvesting and pruning your herb garden. Hopefully these have the info you're looking for: https://www.aerogarden.com/blog/pruning-your-herb-garden-for-maximum-harvest-and-beauty/, https://www.aerogarden.com/blog/how-do-i-harvest-dry-or-store-my-herbs/, https://www.aerogarden.com/blog/how-to-prune-your-favorite-herbs-2/

      Good luck!

      Reply
  • Hi -
    I have had my seed pods starts for two months. The basil x2 are growing great along with the dill...but the mint and thyme never really did anything, the parsley is just starting and sparse. Any suggestions? Reading everything, it seems that I am doing everything right - I have harvested the basil, so I could adjust the light deck, but don't want to cut too much - but the light deck is still high - that being said with nothing out of the mint or thyme my efforts might just be better on the basils and dill? should I cut them back? or maybe try to transplant and use new pods in general - but sounds like they are too big to transplant...hmmmm. Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Hello Megan, I believe you are correct about everything you mentioned. You could just leave the dill and basil to grow happy together, or you could prune it back to give the other pods a fighting chance. I think if you were to start new pods, I would do all of them so they can try to grow together. With the large ones growing next to new, the will most likely block their light and you will have another round of small plants. How large are they? They might be able to survive a transplant if you really water them that first day, but if they are pretty large they might get stressed out. I would say use your best judgement, but every thing you mentioned is a good option. Hope this helps

      Reply
  • Shannon K Karnacki May 13, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    Hi, I'm trying to transplant my plants to an outdoor garden. I'm wondering if I can literally transplant the plants in the sponges into dirt or if I should remove the roots first from the soilless medium and then put them into dirt. I'm not sure they can grow for months in the soilless medium within the dirt? I tried removing roots from the sponges first, but its really hard to do and most of plants did not make it

    Reply
    • Hello Shannon, Great question. Please leave the sponge on when transplanting. As you already found out, that is basically impossible to remove the roots from the sponge, so just let them be, it does great when transplanted. If you are able to take the plastic basket off then you can gently remove that or cut it off, but if the roots are pretty tangled in that too, then bury that as well! Hope this helps

      Reply
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