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Harden Off Yer Plants

By Kelly Lecko

“Always harden off yer plants”
Old Farmer mumbles and grumbles and
perpetually chants.
Young Farmer is antsy,
Impatiently dancing,
Not taking time to do anything fancy.
Old Farmer’s plants are out
For an hour or two,
Tucked away at night
From frost and from dew.
He’s out at dusk while Young Farmer kicks off
his shoes.
Young Farmer transplants in a rush
“Harden ‘em off,” Old Farmer
Repeats in a hush.
In barely a week,
I’m sorry to say,
Young Farmer’s plants had withered away.
But Old Farmer’s plants were tough.
Ready to survive all weather that’s rough.
They were movin;
          And grooving’
                     And growin’ good stuff!
Young Farmer complained
He whined and he raged
While Old Farmer sat back
And watched the rain.
“Now you see, young smarty-pants,
Why every experienced farmer chants
Always remember ‘harden off yer plants!’”
If you have baby plants you have started on a windowsill, or in a greenhouse, this poem is for you!
“Hardening Off” your transplants is giving them outside time every day, increasing their time outside for about a week until you feel they can stay outside overnight. Pick a warm night, and let them have a
sleepover under the stars! After your plants are used to being outside, you can transplant them into the ground. Depending on the cold-tolerance of the vegetable, you might want to cover it, mulch it, sing to it, even! Remember to water it in once you give it a permanent residence.
And remember remember,
It will pay off
for all transplants:
Harden ‘em off!
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