Spring is on its way, and it’s time to start garden prep. But where to begin? It may sound daunting, but with a few helpful tips and tricks, you’ll have healthy sprouts in no time!
Before You Begin:
- Make a list of what you want to grow.
- Do your research! Some plants like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, and tomatoes are excellent for beginners and do best when started indoors. Plants like cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, and watermelon do not do well when transplanted, and root vegetables like carrots and beets will resist transplanting completely, making them good candidates for direct planting. It’s good practice to make sure you have your garden plot planned out, and to have a clear growing timeline.
- Determine who is your best seed-supplier.
- All seed companies are different. Some have better offerings and prices than others, and carry seeds suited to your region. Requesting multiple catalogs might be your best bet.
- Collect growing containers and soil.
- Egg cartons make for excellent seed-starting pots. Garden centers also sell starter pots and can be easily ordered online. Use a quality seed starter mix or compost as your soil for best growing results!
- Have a warm space (65-75°F) for your sprouts to flourish.
- Don’t let your seedlings get below 65°F.
When Should You Plant?
Generally, seeds need to be started four to six weeks before the last frost. It will depend on the type of plant and the seed packet will tell you how many weeks, but a good rule of thumb is late March to late May.
Use a quality seed starter mix or compost. Usually, potting mix made specifically for seeds is lighter weight to make it easy for the seedlings to push their way to the surface. The seed packet will tell you how deep to plant the seeds.
Feeding & Watering
Keep the potting mix moist but be careful not to overwater! Make sure to open some windows on mild days to circulate the air and avoid mold growth in the soil.
When the seedlings start growing multiple leaves, this signals that it is time to start transplanting into larger containers or directly into your garden plot, depending on the weather and your planting timeline. Hardening, or allowing the seedlings to gradually get used to the sun, wind, and rain, is helpful and guarantees a healthier, heartier plant.