Easy Tips for Starting Your Seeds Indoors

Reader Contribution by Mike Lieberman
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Photo by Pixabay/Hans

One way to get a jumpstart on the growing season is to start growing your seeds indoors. For most of you it’s still cold outside. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get a headstart on getting your garden started for the new year. You’ll want to start your seeds indoors so that you can make the most out of your space when the weather finally starts getting nicer. There won’t be that wait for them to germinate. They’ll already be ready to put into your garden.This will help you get quicker to harvest when the season comes around.

Try simple tips to get those seeds started indoors:

  1. Starting your seeds. Nearly all of the packets available will tell you the time it will take for the seeds to sprout and germinate. The packets will also say when is the optimal time to put the plant outdoors. Pay attention to what it says for your area and start your seeds accordingly. I don’t think you’ll want to have sprouts and no place to put them.
  2. Where your seeds are coming from. Much like the food you buy, you’ll also want to know the source of where your seeds are coming from and how they were treated. Some seed companies that you can trust are SeedsNow, Botanical Interests and Baker Creek Seeds.
  3. Mark the seeds. We all think that we will remember what we planted where, but let’s be serious all the seeds look nearly identical and so do the sprouts. That’s why you’ll want to mark them. You can use a popsicle stick of some tape to do so.

Avoid these common seed starting mistakes: 

Michelle Moore, the owner of The Greenhouse Catalog, offered up these easy tips to avoid the most common seed starting mistakes:

  1. Over or under watering planting media and young seedlings. Using a media like coconut pith or coir is a wonderful way to control the moisture content-especially if you water from the bottom. The coir wicks water as needed so seeds don’t get soggy. Don’t forget to add diluted fertilizer within 72 hours after the first leaves appear.
  2. Growing in low-light conditions. South facing windows may work well, as long as the spot isn’t drafty and daylight lengths are greater than 12 hours. Supplementing with grow lights (up to 18 hours of light) will speed up growth. Make sure to read the directions for each grow light as it’s a common mistake to place the light source too far away from the plants.
  3. Temperatures too cool for optimal root growth. Cool temperatures on the surface encourage compact growth, but roots need warmth. Adding bottom heat with a seedling heat mat encourages healthy root growth, which makes for healthy plants.  Make sure to use a media that won’t dry out too quickly with bottom heat.
  4. Plant more than you’ll need. It’s also a good idea to plant more seeds than you will need. This will allow you to pick the healthiest starts to plant.

With these tips, you should now have enough to get your seeds started indoors this year.

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