It seems like just the other day I had mentioned that we should now relax, enjoy the cooler weather and get cozy indoors as the gardening season had been put to rest for another year. Well the time has come! This is what we've been waiting for during those late fall/winter months whether they felt like a long time or to some just a blink of an eye. Now I'm not saying get out there and start your garden right now, but it is a good idea to make all preparations for being ready. I trust that you all had taken the time to organize and care for all your supplies in the fall before putting them away...right? Well if not, then no worries as it can be done now as well. Once you have all your supplies and tools in order then you can start thinking about whether you want to take on either a new adventure starting seeds indoors or continuing on the tradition from other years. Starting seeds indoors, whether its flowers, vegetables or a bit of both, is such a benefit and here's why:
It's an inexpensive way to grow a wide variety of plants.
Seed choices are found in a wider variety of colors, sizes and growth habits rather than starter plants.
Long-season vegetables must be started indoors in early spring. When selecting vegetable varieties, check packets for the number of days until harvest to be sure your choices will mature before frost, this will enable you to grow something that you really enjoy even though our season may be short then if it was directly seeded later in the season.
Peace of mind in knowing exactly where your plants are coming from. You get to decide how to raise your own seedlings by choosing soils as well as what type of fertility to add to them as they grow.
Endless learning, theraputic and so enjoyable as it becomes a new hobby no matter what your age.
Whether you are a seasoned indoor plant grower or considering it for the first time, it really doesn't take up much space or time. In the end you will be glad that you put the little amount of effort into it once you reap the benefits at harvest time.
If you do decide to start this adventure then you will want to begin soon if you haven't already. Here in Canada we have such a wide variety of zones that enable different seed starting dates. If you are unsure of what your zone may be then you may want to check out our hardiness zone map to be sure which time to begin is right for you. This will also help in seed selection by making sure you can grow those selected varieties successfully. Vegetable Seeds to start growing indoors any time now are Artichoke, Asparagus, Leeks,Onions, Celery, and Peppers
To grow these veggies with ease and success use sterile, well-draining soil and containers. If you choose to use any from previous years then it is necessary to sterilize old containers in a very mild bleach solution. Use fresh, pH neutral soiless mix composed of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite. This mix will ensure successful as well as even germination since regular soil is too heavy for seeds to emerge. As mentioned it is so important to use containers or trays with proper drainage holes so that your plants aren't in standing water. Watering plants from the bottom or providing a light sprinkle with a small watering can is best until seedlings reach the two "true leaf" stage.
Allowing proper air circulation at all times is detrimental through this seed germination process. Seedlings shouldn't stay damp for a long a period of time as this can increase disease issues resulting in fatality. You can sprinkle a thin layer of sand or perlite on soil surface to keep stems dry at the base by absorbing excess moisture. So just to review a few tips: You will want to avoid heavy and acidic soil. Overhead watering, this is likely one of the biggest problems I commonly hear of with seedlings. Remember to use a small watering can with a light mist. Letting the soil dry out slightly is OK and should be done if overwatering had been an issue. You will also want to transplant your seedlings from the starting tray as they get bigger, however taking cuttings when not mature enough could result in injury or major set back. It is best to wait until seedlings have at least 1-2 sets of true leaves. Some humidity is good but keep level at a minimum and allow space between seedlings. This will also support proper air circulation.
When it comes time for planting outdoors most gardeners wait until after the risk of all frost to plant their gardens. As mentioned above Frost dates are very specific for each region. Know your area; low-lying gardens will tend to get the first frosts. Another indication of when to plant is once the soil warms up to 65°F (18°C) for the majority of proper seed germination or when small weed seedlings start to emerge from the soil. Some varieties of seed can be planted as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring such as Spinach and leafy green vegetables. Check seed packages for planting times or why not contact your friends here at Veseys Seeds. We are always ready for any type of gardening inquiry and comments. We also love when gardeners share their experiences with their gardens and send us photos. You can check out some great garden photos on our facebook page as well as our website. For additional information on how to grow a specific vegetable check out our growing guide or contact us here at Veseys.
So needless to say...it's time to get up, get going, and get active so you can be ready for yet another exciting gardening season and I'm sure it will be enjoyable and successful.