Your seedlings are happy and thriving, and the temperature is starting to warm up… now what?
Well first of all, don’t let a mid-March warm snap fool you (we weren’t fooled this year, mostly because it never warmed up in March). You should base your planting schedule on your average last frost date (there are a number of places you can find this date), which for us here in northern Ohio (zone 5/6) is toward the end of May. (That means you probably shouldn’t be planting your tender vegetables out in April – recipe for disaster. Some plants, like the brassicas, will do okay with some light frost, but tomatoes, not so much.)
But (another but? I thought this was easy…) you can’t just move the tomatoes from your basement and stick them out in the ground on a clear, sunny day – another recipe for disaster. Now is the time for that final step in your seed starting journey, the hardening and transplanting process.