Although we haven’t had the snowy winter many of us hoped for, it’s still not the climate for growing plants outdoors. However, you can still plan your flower and vegetable garden and combat those cold weather blues. The Garden Center at your local ACE Hardware can provide you with the supplies needed for starting seeds indoors. This will give you a mental boost and provide an earlier harvest of flowers or veggies than you would have by waiting to start everything in the ground.
Keep these tips in mind when starting seeds indoors for success inside and out…
- Decide which plants will benefit the most from being started inside
As the seedlings get larger, they will need to be moved to bigger pots so make sure you have enough room for the varieties you have decided upon. The garden center will have a variety of seed packets available long before it’s time for an outdoor garden.
- Gather your supplies
- Planting trays for the germination stage. Peat pots make an excellent choice and are a green option.
- Larger containers will be needed for some seedlings later in the process to achieve optimum growth before being transplanted in the outdoor garden.
- Potting soil that contains peat and vermiculite will provide good drainage and not become compressed like dirt from a garden. It also contains no diseases or pests that will kill your new seedlings.
- Plant food may be needed if your potting soil doesn’t already have it. Nutrients help to grow strong and healthy plants!
- Lighting, either from a sunny window or through supplemental plant or grow lights are necessary.
- Plant Seeds
Planting seeds indoors is no different than outside, other than it will be more comfortable since instead of squatting on the ground, the planting can happen at a comfortable height. Follow the directions included with your seeds as far as planting depth and when you can expect germination to occur. An easy way of creating a hole for the seed is by using an unsharpened pencil.
- Harden-off seedlings before planting in ground
Approximately 1 week before you plan to transplant your seedlings into the ground; begin the process of hardening them off. This will allow the plants to get acclimated to the harsher outdoor climate. Once the air temperature is warm enough, move the plants to a shady area outside for a day or two. Make sure you bring them in at night. After a few days in the shade, put them in a sunnier area during the day. Inspect them daily for damage from insects.
- Do not rush the transplant process
Make sure your area is beyond the last frost or freeze date before putting your seedlings in the garden. Water the garden soil and the seedlings thoroughly before transplanting to lessen the chance for shock to the plants.
Once transplanting is done, it is just a matter of time before your garden is producing great tasting vegetables and gorgeous flowers for your dining room table. For more information on starting your seeds indoors, please contact us.
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