Spring gardening 2015: getting started with indoor seeds!

Hello all,

As my fellow Northern Hemispherians must have noticed, the days are getting longer already. We’ve sprung ahead by one hour this weekend and soon enough the snow will be melting and gardening season will be upon us again.

Have you started your indoor seeds yet?

I just did mine. I kept it to a minimum this year, because I’m not a huge fan of hardening off seedlings, transplanting them and praying they don’t die. Most seeds are fine to plant directly into the ground after the first frost BUT there are a pesky few that should be started indoors 6-8 weeks before then.

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In the spirit of taking seeds seriously, I invested in a mini greenhouse from Home Depot. The one that I built with lights was too small. I’m not sure yet if this structure would benefit from the addition of grow lights. Anyway, I’ll figure that out later. I’m getting off topic.

The 5 most important seeds for me were:

  • strawberries
  • watermelon
  • basil
  • sweet peppers
  •  tomatoes

These plants can usually be found for good prices at the farmers market if you would rather buy them pre-grown. However, if you are starting them from seeds then they must be started early.

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As you can see, I started mine in jiffy soil pellets. I ran out of pellets so I put the tomato seeds in old plastic containers half-filled with soil.

Basil and strawberries both do well in containers. They are okay with partial sun and occasional watering. Tomato plants can do well in containers, depending on the variety. If it is a good variety for containers, most seed brands will mark that on the packet. So far, I’ve had the best luck with grape tomatoes.

Sweet bell peppers, larger varieties of tomatoes such as beefsteak, and watermelon will require huge amounts of water and sunlight. For this reason, I recommend putting them into a plot, if you have one. I have grown sweet peppers on a balcony before, but they were stunted and produced few fruit. Smaller peppers such as jalapenos or serrano, on the other hand, will do just fine on the balcony so long as they get full sun.

Just for fun I started seeds for artichokes, broccoli, and cilantro (large container, second shelf). The thing about cilantro is that it doesn’t transplant well. If you decide to plant it early, put it in a larger container that you don’t mind using all summer. That’s what I did here and this will be my “inside” supply. Once the snow melts I’ll be planting the seeds directly outdoors as well.

I found it much easier to plan my garden this year after organizing my seeds. I’ve tried to do this several times before without much success. Finally I put them into an index card box.

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They are organized by planting times: sow indoors before frost, start outdoors ASAP, sow in May/June, Flower and Indoor plants.

I would like to start a new section for “Replant every 2 weeks.” My gardening book says to replant seeds for beets, carrots, spinach, and other veggies every 2 weeks in order to have a continuous supply. I didn’t do that last year but this year I plan to.

How do you organize your seeds? What do you plan to grow this year?

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