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Tips for Taking Seedlings Outside in Surrey

in Tips and Tutorials

Tips for Taking Seedlings Outside in Surrey

In Surrey and surroundings areas on the coast, it is roughly a USDA garden zone 8 or 8 and a half. That means we can take our seedlings outside earlier than in the more interior or northern non-coastal areas of British Columbia. Today, in our blog article, we are going to give you a few tips on taking your seedlings outside.

Hardening Off

The most important thing to know about moving seedlings outside is to do it slowly. This is called “hardening off.” Hardening off means you get your seedlings used to the less controlled and cooler temperatures outside. So, how do you harden off?

If your seedlings were started inside or inside under lights or inside under a cover, then start by just removing the cover inside for a couple of days, during the afternoon. Cover them back up at night.

If your seedlings are not under cover, then take them outside and put them in the sun in a sheltered area where they will not be buffeted by wind for a few hours per day in the afternoon for a few days. Then take them out for longer. Try to keep them in the sun and be sure to water them because they are likely in small cells and will not have much for water reserves.

After a week of babying them, plant them where they will live, and choose a first night when the temperature will stay above 10 degrees.

Some seedlings like tomatoes will do better if they are covered outside for the first week or two, like in a plastic tunnel. But tomatoes can also be seeded in place by the end of May until the end of June if you have chosen varieties that have a relatively short life cycle or time to fruiting. Tomatoes are not going to be very happy until the outdoor temperatures remain above 15, but they will survive until that temperature is reached.

What a lot of people do not realize is that many seeds could have been planted in the Surrey area outside well before now. To give you some examples, beets could have been planted outside in mid-April and kale and carrots in March. So, those can be safely seeded outside anytime now without necessarily starting them inside.

The main reason to start seeds indoors is to get a head start for fruits or vegetables that require a longer growing season than we have in Surrey or along the coast of BC. There are only a handful of vegetables that fall in that category, such as peppers, melons, or celery. For most of the others, starting seeds inside is more a labor of love than of necessity.


Art Knapp has 15 locations across British Columbia and is well known as the go-to garden centre for everything garden-related. Art Knapp, himself, began the business in the 1940's, and now, 80 years later, you can find more than he ever dreamed of in our stores. Come and see us on King George Boulevard in Surrey. 

If you have any questions about this article or want to talk to us about gardening, just give us a call at (604) 596-9201.

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