Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring Gardening - How and when to start seeds?

This blog post will be timely for those in the Eastern US above the Mason-Dixon Line. One thing before you start seeds is to look up the last frost date in your area. Around here(Maryland, Zone 7) it is usually around Mother's Day or if you want to be safe Memorial Day. It is after this last day of frost that you put your seedlings out. Use this, Last Frost Date Check or the Old Farmer's Almanac to check out the last froze date for your area. If you not interested in buying seedlings from your nearest garden store you could always start seeds indoors.

While it is recommended not to start seeds on the windows sill. It is all you have sometimes. It has mostly worked for me but the plants grow to be spindly and they are not as strong. There are several type of "Grow Lights" that can be purchased which might work best but for most window light is all that is available.

The other items you need for seed starting are small pots and seed starting mix. I usually use the peat pots which are biodegradable. The process is fairly simple.

Get the pots ready

Fill the pots half or three fourths full with soil

Pour water to wet the soil

Drop the seeds

Cover the seeds with more soil

Sprinkle with more water

Prepare all the pots

A backyard greenhouse might work. I am trying these out for the first time. Will have to see how they work.

Depending on the type of seed, they have to be started 4-6 weeks before they are ready to be planted outside.

The rules are

  • Check the last frost date for your area.

  • Start your seeds indoors ready to be transplanted, 4-6 weeks before last frost depending on the type of seed and how many days are required for germination.

  • Harden the plants by leaving them in their seed starting containers outside for a couple of days before transplanting.

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