The process of moving seedlings from the warmth and protection of the house or greenhouse outdoors into the garden is called “hardening off.” This most delicate time in plant growth, following weeks of careful nurturing of small plants from seed, leaves the gardener at the mercy of outdoor elements often unpredictable and fast changing. While getting an early start to the vegetable garden is essential for a good season, getting caught by a sudden cold snap can destroy most tender seedlings.
Finally, the young plants are ready for planting out. For the slugs in the garden, fresh from hibernation and hungry, it is feast time. In a small garden with an active snail population the only option is to prolong the hardening off phase by several weeks, potting up small plants to larger pots, allowing the plants time to grow and harden off their cuticle surface. This is necessary with tomatoes, beans and cucumbers (the slugs favourite).