Starting Seeds Indoors
Listen up garden people, we don’t live in the tropics. You can’t grow plants outdoors all year round. To get a headstart on the spring and ensure a long fruitful summer y’all need to learn how to start seeds indoors.
Daniel, when do I start planting seeds indoors?
Now. Right now. All seed packets (plus the internet) will tell you how and when to start planting. For the most part get those brassicas going now. Then beans and peas, then cucumbers, squash, and zukes, then tomatoes and peppers.
But, when do I stop planting seeds indoors?
After the last frost is fine. Then you can start seeds outside in a cold frame or just in the garden itself. The key is to always be starting seeds.
So why is starting seeds in February important?
Plants take time to grow. If you time it right, you can start your plants early indoors and move relatively mature plants outside as soon as it’s not too cold. A 6- or 8- week old plant is going to hit the ground running and get big and bountiful earlier in the season.
**For the best results start a round of plants every two weeks beginning 8 weeks before the last frost (April 4th this year) and continuing through the whole summer. This will ensure you have plenty of plants ready to go into the ground whenever you need them. If you plant too early and a late frost knocks out some plants you’ve got other in the bank.
What do I need to do this thing you’re telling me to do?
- Soil blockers (optional but awesome) – these dudes compress perfect soil cubes into which you can plant your seeds. They are magical and dramatically improve germination and growth rates. They are cheaper in the long run (instead of buying containers) and transplant way better because you don’t disturb the roots.
- Seed trays – lay your soil blocks in here for easy transport. Make sure you buy one with a clear top. This will act like a mini-greenhouse retaining moisture and keeping your plants warm.
Cost: Jiffy 50 seed tray w/ lid: $5
- Lamp & plant bulb – you can buy the expensive grow lamps that emit just blue and red LED light or you can buy a simple clip on utility work light and an incandescent grow light. (I’m cheap and bought two lamps and two bulbs.
Cost: Work light: $10 / Bulb: $5
- Spray bottle – Soil blocks will dry out sooner than seeds starter in containers. Either way, water every day. These little babies need your love, give em the juice. But be gentle, mist those suckers.
Cost: Spray bottle: $1.50
Alright, I said it was easy. You only have to buy 4 or 5 things to get up and running and yes you can use shortcuts here. Gardening is about experimentation.
All told you’re looking at $51.50 with the soil blockers, $21.50 without. Doesn’t break the bank but it makes a huge difference come Spring time.
Trust me, starting seeds indoors is totally worth it. It’s not hard to do right and it’s cheap compared to buying seedlings from the greenhouse. Do it! You got this.