With spring approaching, we’re looking forward to spending some much needed time with our gardens, and getting our hands dirty. As with every year, we’re sure that this will be the year we have the perfect garden! Wishful thinking, we know, but we can dream! What we can do in the meantime is start getting ready with some indoor seed planting.
Seed starting, or indoor growing, is the process of getting your flowers, plants, and vegetables started indoors, which will then be transplanted into your yard or garden when the weather and soil are ready for them. It’s a great way to get a jumpstart on the growing season, and allows you a much wider range of possibilities, as you’re able to find many more varieties of seeds than you are young plants come garden season. It’s also easier on your wallet, since seeds are much cheaper than young plants.
In the Midwest region, we have a shorter window of opportunity to grow, so indoor seed planting is a great way to extend our season and enjoy more of the delicious veggies we work so hard to produce. Transplanting them after starting them indoors means more time flourishing in our gardens, and less time maturing enough to begin flowering or sprouting.
If you’re new to seed starting or indoor growing, don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as you may think. Just don’t take on too much. Start with what you can handle, say a couple dozen plants in maybe three or four varieties. Then, remember the basic ingredients they will need to flourish; a proper growing medium, a good container, light, warmth, water, and of course a little TLC. Let’s get you started!
Jolly Lane carries a wide variety of seeds and seed starting kits to ensure your indoor growing success!
Using the Right Growing Medium
It’s important to remember that seedlings are delicate little creatures, and need to be coddled a bit at first. They need a fresh, sterile seed-starting mix that’s light, fluffy, and designed to hold just the right amount of moisture. Anything less and your seedlings are at risk for disease and an early departure from your indoor growing operation. If you have any questions about choosing the correct medium, we’re always ready to help!
Choosing the Right Container
Technically, anything that will hold your growing medium and can have some drainage holes poked in it will work. Empty egg crates, milk jugs, old shoe boxes, whatever you can come up with. If you want to ensure your seedlings success though, we’d recommend stopping out to Jolly Lane to find the proper sizes with the right amount of drainage. We have specially designed containers and pots that are specifically meant for starting those seeds indoors, including biodegradable pots that breakdown in the soil, making the job of transplanting much easier!
Shine a Light on Me
If you want your little seedlings to fully take root and grow, they’ll need plenty of light. Keep their containers in a space that gets the most sunshine and daylight in your home. If you don’t have a space that can give them continuous lighting for most the day, you’ll want to invest in some indoor grow lights. Jolly Lane carries indoor growing lights that allow adjusting the height so you can raise them up as your seedlings grow.
Keep Me Warm
The majority of the plants and veggies that you’ll likely be planting see optimal germination in temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If this is a tricky situation for you, you can get a seedling heat mat that allows you to control the temperature at all times. Or, you can get creative and give your seedlings some time on top of your refrigerator, television, or anywhere that reflects heat from it!
Stop into Jolly Lane for all your indoor growing needs, and ask us for some tips about seed starting!
Don’t Let Me Drink too Much
Plants and veggies need water for photosynthesis and for energy to grow. It’s also needed to start the germination process. But, although it’s essential for their growth, overwatering is the number one cause of seedling failure. So be mindful to not give them too much to drink. Sow your seeds in an evenly pre-moistened mix. It should be moist but not soaking wet. Cover the container to hold in humidity while the seeds germinate with the cover from your kit, or a clear plastic wrap. Try to allow for some air circulation, however. Once they’ve sprouted, uncover their containers and water them from the bottom if possible.
Give me Lots of Attention
The best way to ensure seedling success is to check on them daily. Check to see that they’re not too wet, have proper light, whether or not they’re sprouting and need their cover removed. If they are, and you’re using indoor lights, be sure to raise them so that they stay about 3-4 inches above them. If you’re starting your seeds on a windowsill or similar place, turn them every day so they don’t begin to bend towards the light. Set yourself up for success by keeping a steady routine of checking on and adjusting your plants.
As your seedlings grow, watch the weather. Most should stay indoors until after the last frost date for your area has passed and your soil has warmed. Refer to your seed packet for details about transplanting. We know how anxious we get to transplant, but surely many a carefully cared for tomato seedling has been killed by a May frost or simply slowed down by cold soil. It’s better to plant them late, rather than too early.
Finally, introduce your plants to the sun gradually, a process called "hardening off". Expose them to sunlight for one hour more each day for a week. During this time bring them to a protected location outside when they are not in the sunlight. If there will be a frost at night, bring them inside. After a week or so, they will have acclimated to the outdoors and will be ready to transplant.
There you have it friends, seed starting 101, the beginner’s version. For more info about indoor growing, seed starting, tips and tricks for a successful season, and everything related to your garden, stop out and see us at Jolly Lane Greenhouse. We’ll hel