Spring is almost here! Even though it’s still cold outside, now is the time to get your seedlings started indoors and start planning your spring garden! Here is what I am planting this year and how you can get started with seed starting!
Every year around this time when we start to get some sunny days, I start to get excited for spring! Though it is still cold outside right now, this is the time of year to truly start planning out your garden and get your seedlings started indoors! I just started my seedlings from my seed order and have a few seeds left from last year that I will be starting this weekend.
I have friends ask me about my garden all the time, and my advice to them all is, “just do it!”! Gardening is such a rewarding experience and teaches you so much about life in general. It is like having an ongoing science experiment in your yard that you can eat! Every morning in the summertime, I can’t wait to go out to my garden to see what’s happening. It is the most therapeutic activity I have ever done! Beside’s being fun, it gives you a grocery store in your backyard!
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What am I growing this year?
After my first full season of growing last year, I took notes of what I loved and what I didn’t love. I took notes on what grew well and what didn’t. I even took note of where I planted certain plants last year and where I want to plant them this year. Here is a list of my favorites from last year and some new varieties I’m trying this year:
Favorites from last year that I’m growing again –
- Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
- Japanese Eggplants
- Curly Kale
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Patty Pan Squash
- Candy Cane Peppers
- Bell Peppers
- Poblano Peppers
- English Thyme
New plants I’m trying out this year and seed starting-
- Spoon Tomatoes
- Bunching Onions
- Yellow Sweet Onions
- Golden Beets
- Little Fingers Eggplants
- Parisian Pickling Cucumbers
- Sugar Snap Peas
- New Karoda Carrot
- Cute Carrots
- Yellow Squash
What seeds can I start indoors when seed starting?
When deciding which seeds you should start indoors, you should read the back of your seed packet. Some packets will recommend starting indoors, and some will recommend direct sowing (sowing outdoors in place).
The reality is, you can really start any seeds that you would like to indoors! Though this is the case, some seeds do not handle transplanting well. Carrots, for example, can technically be started indoors but tend to die off once you transplant them.
I like to experiment with this every year just to see what I can manage to transplant and what survives! Thankfully seeds are fairly inexpensive and give you some wiggle room to experiment with what works best in your growing zone.
How do I start my seeds?
I am by no means an expert on this subject, but after a few years of trial and error, I think I have finally gotten my system down! I like to use these seed starting kits that I buy at Lowe’s or Home Depot. They come with expandable soil pellets in a plastic tray with a lid. I also have a small grow light that I use that I purchased at Lowe’s as well. Here is my process:
- I start by adding water to the pellets to make them expand following the package instructions
- I sort my seeds into two groups, seeds that should be started inside, and seeds that should be direct sown outdoors.
- Once the soil pellets have expanded, I set everything up on a table to begin sowing my seeds. I label my seed pods before I start placing seeds in them to make sure to keep my place.
- In each seed pod, I sow two seeds. This ensures that at least one of the seeds will germinate.
- Once I have finished sowing my seeds according to package instructions, I place the lid on my seed starting tray and leave them alone for 2-3 days. After a couple of days, you will start to see some of your seedlings start to pop through the soil!
- After a couple of days, you will start to see some of your seedlings start to pop through the soil! Once you see this, go ahead and take the clear top off of the seed tray. At this stage, I like to set up my grow light and leave it on during the daylight hours and turn it off at night.
- At night, I like to place a fan in the vicinity of my seedlings just so it barely blows on them. This will help strengthen their stems and keep them from getting leggy.
- Seedlings have their initial leaves and all look relatively similar. Once they get a little bigger, they will grow their first set of true leaves. These leaves will resemble what the adult plant leaves will look like. Once your seedlings are about 3 weeks old and have 1-2 sets of true leaves, they are ready to transplant!
- Before transplanting your seedlings, you will want to harden them off. This is the process of gradually introducing them to true sunlight. I start out by placing them in the sun for 30 minutes in the late afternoon, 45 minutes the next day, an hour the day after that, and a half day after that. After this point, I leave them out for a full day and if they look good, I transplant them into their new container or my garden!
Where do I get my seeds for seed starting?
I get my seeds pretty much anywhere that sells them! My favorite place to order my seeds from, however, is Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company! They have TONS of unique heirloom varieties and I love to try new varieties from them every year.
I also buy seeds at Lowe’s or Home Depot, Walmart, and even the Dollar Store! There are many companies that you can order seeds from, but the best place to start is anywhere you can find seeds! Just get growing!
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