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Getting Your Garden Ready: How to Start Seeds Indoors

Now that the winter months are mostly behind us, many people are yearning for signs of spring. One way to get rid of the winter blues is to begin planning out your garden. Once you know what you want to grow, you must figure out when to get started.
3-4 Indoor Seed Growing
Jag2020 from Pixabay

Seeds have different needs

Many vegetables have different growing rates and requirements. Seeds that grow quickly, or do not need long to grow before harvesting, should not be started indoors. Another consideration is that some seedlings are more fragile than others and have a lower chance of surviving transplant into the garden, or don’t harden off properly. Seeds you should consider planting directly in your spring beds include:

Great options

The best choice for plants to start indoors are those that require a longer growing season. Depending on where you are in Canada, you may have a shorter or longer growing season. Many areas of British Columbia experience a longer growing season, which means they may not need to start seeds indoors, whereas other regions like Alberta experience a shorter season. Plants that take longer to grow include peppers, tomatoes, corn and squash.

The basics

Seeding pods are great tools for starting your seeds indoors as you can plant the pod directly into the ground when it is time. The draw back of these are that you must remove the mesh netting around the pods that have root vegetables, otherwise it may constrict growth. Examples of this would include carrots, beets and potatoes. You also need to ensure you don’t put too many seed in one pod. If you overcrowd them, you will need to separate them before transplanting and this can damage the delicate seedlings.

Once your seeds are in their pods, label the pods so you can water them according to the instructions on the seed pack. Keep them in a warm sunny place to ensure the best growth. You can step this up by setting up a compact greenhouse inside your home. These are available online, in garden centres, or can be DIY’d using clear plastic storage bins.

Timing

Don’t start your seeds too early or your seedlings will outgrow their space and supports before you can get them in the garden. Starting most seeds in April will allow you to get them in the garden by June, which is generally when the soil has thawed, and the temperatures stay above freezing at night. Again, some seeds may need to be started sooner than April, so check your seed packs for specifics.

Container gardens

Get the best of both worlds by growing your veggies in pots that you can bring in and out of your house. Container gardening lets you start seeds inside, move them outside as soon as the days grow warm enough, and bring them inside for protection if there is a frost risk or high winds forecasted. Here are some veggies that do great in containers.

Whatever you choose for your garden, starting seeds indoors is a great way to improve the variety of your garden yield. With just a few extra items you will be on your way to a healthy harvest!

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