Do you want to get a head start on your garden this year? If so, consider growing some seeds indoors, then transplanting them outside. This will allow you more time to focus on your summer plants, and you can start enjoying your vegetables and flowers sooner! This week, I have some tips for you if you want to become an expert at growing seeds indoors.
- A Container: To successfully grow seeds indoors, you must have the right kind of container. You may want to use individual containers and grow a single seedling in each one. Make sure each container is about two to three inches deep. Planting your seeds in individual containers prevents the roots of one plant from tangling with another and causing problems during the transplant stage.
- Soil: Purchase soil designed for growing seeds. Before putting the soil in each of your containers, pour small amounts of water on it until it's a crumbly consistency. Next, spoon the soil into each container and pack it down to eliminate air pockets.
- Seeds: Read the instructions on your seed packets. Some seeds need to be put just beneath the surface of the soil, while others need to be a little deeper to grow. Cover your seeds with soil and moisten the soil in each container.
- Water: Check the condition of your soil each day. Keep it moist but not soaking wet. I suggest using a spray bottle to mist your seeds so you don't accidentally overdo it. Use liquid fertilizer to give your seeds the nutrients they need to grow.
- Light: A south-facing window should give your seeds enough light to grow. If you don't have a window that will allow your seeds enough light, consider getting some grow lights. Having grow lights provides you with more control over the amount of light you give your seedlings.
Seeds That Grow Well Indoors
Some types of seeds are especially easy to grow indoors, including tomatoes, zinnias, marigolds, basil, cosmos, and nasturtium. These seeds germinate quickly and need very little attention, and having success growing these seeds can give you the confidence to try growing other types of seeds next year. If you've never grown any seeds indoors before, I would start with no more than ten varieties of seeds so you don't feel overwhelmed with too many kinds to keep track of.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
One common mistake to avoid is putting soil from your garden into your growing containers. Garden soil may contain diseases and bacteria that can kill your seeds.
Another mistake to avoid is misjudging how much water to give your seeds. One solution to this is to make a self-watering system.
Using paper cups, yogurt cups, or even an egg carton as a container for your seeds is perfectly fine. But don't forget to poke a hole in the bottom of your DIY containers for proper drainage.
Tips for Growing Your Seeds
- Make labels for your containers so you don't forget what is in each one.
- When it's time to move your seedlings outside, go through the hardening off process first. For a few hours a day, put your container outside in an area with little wind and partial shade. Do this over the course of ten days to get your seedlings used to the outdoors.
- Don't expect all of your seeds to grow. There are always a few that don't appear despite your best care. This is why you should go with several types, so you have plenty that do grow!
- Most seeds should be planted indoors approximately six weeks before the last frost in your part of the country.
If you want to get a jump on the spring season, try growing some seeds indoors! Happy growing, and thanks for reading. - Alan