Winter seed sowing gives you a jump start on the growing season! Starting seeds indoors while it’s still cold and snowy outside starts with dusting off your gardening gloves and getting a little dirty as you prepare your seeds for this pre-spring process. Remember to label and date each seed planted and write notes on the seed packets. This is one of our greatest tips for starting seeds indoors, as it makes the process easier the following winter when you begin the next year’s sowing season. The information also serves as a reminder of which plants were enjoyed, how they grew, and the amount of fruit the plant produced.
Why Start From Seeds?
There are several reasons for raising bedding plants from seed rather than buying them ready for planting – such as saving money, having a much wider choice of varieties, or just cultivating an extended sense of achievement. Some 50 million seed packets are purchased every year, yielding a substantial amount of success. Failures only happen if simple steps are not taken to ensure proper germination procedures and provision of light and moisture after emergence.
Things to Remember with Winter Seed Sowing:
• Discourage pets from entering the indoor growing area.
• Be sure your home has plenty of space and light in the designated growing area.
• Plants should be pointed at a south facing window with direct sunlight – but also where it doesn’t get too hot. If optimal natural sunlight is not an option, try artificial indoor lighting.
• Plants with roots that can withstand disruption during transplantation respond best to winter seed sowing.
• Starting seeds indoors requires an attentive grower, as seedlings are very fragile.
• If you are new to gardening, don’t be too ambitious. A little can go a long way. Start small and allocate your time to the seeds appropriately.
• Containers must have a proper drainage system. See below for more information on containers.
• Seeds contain the nutrients needed for germination. Therefore, fertilizing and fertile soil aren’t needed during the germination process.
• Don’t let the soil dry out. Consistent moisture is needed.
Proper containers enable seeds to thrive when starting seeds indoors. Try any of these container types:
• Clay and Plastic Pots
• Compressed Peat Pellets
• Plastic Flats, Packs, and Plugs
• Plastic Trays
• Fiber Trays
• Wood Flats
• Peat Pots
What NOT to sow indoors…
Some crops should be avoided when starting seeds indoors, mostly because they don’t transplant well or simply take up too much room. Roots, tubers, or bulb crops, such as turnips, beets, radishes, carrots, onions, and potatoes are better off started outdoors. Any leafy greens, like cabbage, chards, lettuce, and spinach should be started outdoors as well.
Planting timeline for sowing seeds indoors:
• February | Perennials: Rudbeckia, Salvia, Columbine, Delphinium, Hollyhock
• March | Annuals-Bedding: Petunias, Marigold, Lobelia, Impatiens, Moss Rose
• Mid-April | Vegetables: Tomatoes, Peppers, Broccoli
• Late-April | Vegetables: Cucumbers, Squash
Winter seed sowing and indoor growing brings a sense of joy and achievement, as well as a little relief on the pocketbook! With these simple tips for staring seeds indoors from the gardening gurus at Jolly Lane Greenhouse, you are sure to have a successful start to winter seed sowing!