Start Your Garden Indoors: Seed-Starting Timing, Varieties and Equipment


tomato and pepper seedlings on my light table 

Tomato & pepper seedlings.

Why bother to start your own seeds? It seems like a lot of work, and there will be all those lovely vegetable seedlings at the big box stores and farm stores in a couple of months. It is isn’t it? They will won’t they? Let’s explore these assumptions and talk about the benefits of starting your own seeds indoors.

Benefits of Starting Your Own Seeds

You control the timing. Imagine having your garden all planned out, the timing of each crop figured out so that you can succession crop each planting bed. But the stores thinks all cool season seedlings go in at the same time. If you wait to buy past their preferred timing, all they’ll have left are straggly, ill-cared for leftovers. If you want to buy ahead of their timing, there won’t be anything to purchase. Starting your own seeds allows you to time their growth enabling transplant just as a spot opens up in your garden.

You decide the variety. Do you want a variety that performs well in your micro-climate? Is taste your determining factor? Would you consider hybrids, or only heirloom vegetables? Whatever is important to you can only be ensured through careful varietal selection. When you start your own seeds you are growing the perfect plant for your needs and desires.

The seedlings handle transplanting with greater ease. Purchased seedlings have rarely been hardened off, which is the process that makes them ready to be transplanted. They are usually too far grown to allow you the time to harden them off yourself before planting. Seedlings that you start yourself have the hardening time factored into their growing period before transplant. One to two weeks before planting out, you take them outside to a lightly shaded and protected area for a few hours. The time is increased daily. By the time you put them in the ground they are already acclimated to your growing environment. This also gives you more flexibility in when you plant so that you can factor in the weather conditions.

1/12/2021 3:06:26 PM

Sheryl, nice informative post on starting seeds. That time is fast approaching for seed starting. I usual start around Valentine's day with the onions. It's much more work to grow onions from seed but I've found that the onions get much bigger and store better if grown from seed. The sets just don't do well for me. And, well, there many more varieties to choose from when growing from seed. I too make sure I have enough seed starting mix to get started in February. The nurseries and big box stores haven't quite geared up for that just yet. I stagger my seedling starts because I can't really predict the weather pattern in Nebraska springs. And well, there seems to always be some kind of bad weather in may that's not good for gardens. Whether it be hail, wind, or frost. I have backup plants for the backup plants. Nurseries and stores are usually out of plants by the middle or end of May so a garden disaster then is not a good thing. ***** Thanks for sharing your knowledge on seed starting. ***** Nebraska Dave

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