Here in grow zone 10A where we live, our garden is in full swing but if you live in a colder climate, now is the time to begin planning your garden and starting seeds indoors. So here are my suggestions for vegetables seeds to start growing early indoors. Some vegetables take longer to mature so this way once the last chance of frost and you’re ready to begin planting outdoors you will be ready.
In general you have an estimated time when you will begin planting outdoors so there is no use planting anything that will mature too fast and will crowd you home. In most cold climates, May is the best time to begin moving plants out into the garden. However, the weather is unpredictable so be prepared to keep plants indoors until there are no more chances of frost. You can find your USDA hardiness zone and use this information to determine when your final frost date is.
Of course, you do not want to plant the seedling too late either and risk that it will not produce anything because it matured indoors too long. I know it’s a lot of gambling but trust me, in the end it’s worth it to grow your own food.
What can happen if you start your seeds too early?
If you put seeds into the ground too early you may end up with slow, uneven, or poor germination because of the soil being too cold. Furthermore, if you transplant seedlings outside too early they may get harmed from frost or uneven weather. Even. If you start your seeds indoors too early, you run the risk of leggy, overgrown, root-bound, or otherwise overly mature seedlings before you’re able to transplant them outside. So yes time is everythingJ
8-12 weeks before planting start these seeds:
· swiss chard
While warm weather vegetables seeds like eggplants, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes you should start seeds 2-3 weeks before your desired planting date and 4 weeks ahead of last frost for crops like melons and cucumbers.
Here are my tips for starting seeds:
Know when to plant seeds—The general rule of thumb is to begin sowing seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost; so planting seeds depends on the climate where you live. Check a sowing calendar, or ask a local gardening social media group or nursery.
Seed pots—I like to plant seeds in recycled household items instead of store-bought plastic trays, soil blocks or pots. Instead of wasting money and creating more trash, I suggest inventing your own seeds pots. It’s easy:
- Old milk or juice cartons—Lay the carton on its side and remove one of the long sides. Make drainage holes in the opposite side. Fill with soil. More than one plant can grow there.
- Egg Cartons—The best part about using egg cartons is that, since they are bio-degradable and compostable, they along with the seedling can be transferred right into the ground/soil/pot. Fill each cell in the carton with soil and plant a few seeds in each one. Once the seeds have sprouted, divide the individual cells, then plant cardboard cells and all.
- Paper Rolls—Everyone uses toilet paper, and the little paper tubes are the perfect size for seed planting. All you have to do is cut your toilet paper rolls in half, then place them all tightly on a tray and fill with soil. Since the bottoms are open, they already have a natural way to drain water. When the time is right, plant them outside, toilet paper roll and all. Just like the egg cartons, they will compost, and the plants will be off to a great start already.
Soil—Never use soil from your garden when planting seeds because seeds need well fertilized, moist soil to ensure the most nutrient-rich environment. Instead, use new seed starting mix made for growing seedlings.
Plant your seeds at about double the depth of their own size.
Keep soil moist because, as the soil dries out, it is likely that the seeds will not germinate. Seeds can take between five and 21 days to germinate. Make sure they get enough direct sunlight by putting them in a place where they will get direct sunlight at least six hours a day.
Invest in a grow light—If you don’t have good light indoors, it’s common to supplement with grow lights. They are great for seedlings, ensuring they will grow healthy and strong.
Feed them compost—Once plants have developed more than 2 leaves, feed them organic matter like a compost. This time is exciting but also requires patience, as the next few weeks are needed for your plants to become stronger and grow, a crucial phase before transplanting them into their summer homes.
I know spring planting might seem so far away but while you wait, think about how if you get started on your planting now, you’ll have homegrown, fresh food in no time at all.