5 Important Tips for Starting Your Seeds Indoors.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my vegetable garden started! Here are 5 tips for a successful launch of your veggie garden! Photo courtesy of My Tiny Plot. www.mytinyplot.com
1. Know WHEN to start your seeds!
As with most things in life, timing is everything. Knowing when to start your seeds will give you a great progression of veg throughout the summer. But how do you know he optimal time to start the tomatoes, the cukes, the pumpkins? The Farmer’s Almanac has a great FREE resource that will help you determine when to start your seeds indoors, when to plant them outside, and when you can expect to harvest. You can see the chart that was generated for Portland, Oregon (where Sturdi-Built is located) here: Planting Dates Calculator for Portland, OR _ Old Farmer’s Almanac. Find your planting dates here: Farmers Almanac Planting Dates
2. Use a propogation heat mat.
Kept at perfect temperature to gently warm the soil, wake up your seeds, and get them moving rapidly, heat mats are fairly inexpensive and really speed up the process. This is even more important than having a grow light. Soil temperature is what wakes seeds up!
3. Try a seed planting disc.
I love these little discs for the sheer ease of dropping in a seed and watering. Formulated with the correct medium for starting your seeds, they are so easy to move, and it protects the delicate roots when it’s time to transplant them. The photo below shows the progression from planting disk to 4″ pot. The flat disc is on the left, then what it looks like after water is introduced. The third in line shows when the seed comes up, and then the progression to the true leaves, a peat pot, and finally the 4″ pot that the plants live in until they move outside.
4. Move to a bigger pot when the true leaves begin to show, begin to fertilize.
There is enough food for seedlings to get there start within the seed. But after the true leaves begin to show, it’s time to move them into potting soil and start to gently fertilize. The photo below shows a planting disc with the false leaves, and the true leaves starting to show.
5. Let them harden off before transplanting them outside.
One of the things we recommend here at Sturdi-Built is to have a fan going in the greenhouse during the winter months and while you are starting your seeds. The air movement helps the seedlings “flex their muscles” and makes for stronger plants that are better able to handle wind when they move outside.
Start the hardening off process by cutting back on the water a few days before you introduce them to the outside. Place your transplants outside in a bright but sheltered location for 2 to 3 hours a day, gradually increasing their time outside. As a final step, leave them outside all night (if there will be no frost!). Now it’s time to put them in their outdoor home.
And last but not least . . .
SHARE THE WEALTH!
The photo belows shows a Sturdi-Built Greenhouse in Blue Hill, Maine. Yes, it gets cold there! This photo was taken in May. Talk about a jump start to your season.
A seed packet usually contains more seeds than most of us can use in our garden. It’s a great idea to coordinate with a friend or several, and each buy a packet or two of seeds and then divide them up or start them for each other and do a seedling exchange when they are ready to put in the garden. It’s a wonderful reason to get together for coffee, or wine, and share the future bountiful harvest!