Starting seeds is a great way to get a head start with Spring gardening. I’ve actually been putting this off because our temperatures and weather have been so unpredictable.
I think we’re pretty safe at the moment and since I purchased seeds back in December it’s past time to get started because our last freeze date is scheduled for March 31.
To find the last freeze date for your planting zone check the Farmer’s Almanac and click weather. This link can also be found in our Subscriber’s library. To gain access sign up for our newsletter here.
There are so many ways to start seeds and the set ups are endless. If you have a greenhouse, I have to say I’m a bit jealous because that would be the ideal environment for establishing seeds prior to Spring.
Seed Starter Boxes
This year I’ll be using the seed starter boxes, they keep the mess outdoors which is grand when you live Tiny. These boxes allow me to cover during the germination process and offer natural sunlight when temperatures surprise us.
I originally used these for fall planting and they worked great, it was easy to cover my lettuce when temperatures dropped by placing the lid on top.
But fall is now in the past and it’s time to embrace yet a new season of planting.
Each box is filled with soil, natural debris and mulch which work as insulation. Once these starters are ready to transplant, I can also use these boxes for direct planting because they’re already prepped.
This is one of our dual-purpose products and simple tips that allow me to glide through the gardening season.
Benefits of Starting Seeds
By starting your own seeds, you can actually decrease startup expenses because buying individual plants can add up fast, especially if you have a big garden.
You also have the opportunity to start specialty plants that are often overlooked at traditional nurseries. Most nurseries purchase plants off the same truck so if you want something unique it’s important to find a nursery that starts their own inventory on sight.
Or just buy seeds and do it yourself because it’s actually a pretty relaxing activity and a good way to spend an afternoon. If you still haven’t purchased seeds, read new garden seeds here.
Starting seeds at home is just really an affordable way to begin a garden.
When to Start Seeds
For annuals begin seeds four to six weeks prior to Spring. Like I mentioned earlier I’m off to a slow start this year and that’s because of our weather.
Annuals will germinate fast, most between 6- 10 days and within two weeks don’t be surprised how fast they begin producing new growth.
Perennials are slower to germinate and will take that full 10 days sometimes longer depending on the variety of seed. These plants are hardier and fun to incorporate because once established you can enjoy them every year.
Both annuals and perennials can be sowed no more than 12 weeks before the last freeze.
What to use for Starting Seeds?
In the past I’ve used a variety of materials and normally it all comes down to what I have available. This year I decided to keep things really simple and use peat pods with recycled OUI glass jars. I just love that yogurt!
I’ve also incorporated some liners that will help keep the pods organized and stay moist.
If you want a few more ideas I’ve added some things from the past, pick and choose or get traditional seed starting trays online or in store.
If you decide to reuse materials from previous seasons make sure to wash them first in hot soapy water to remove any bacteria. I recommend using natural cleaners because they won’t be harmful to your health.
What kind of Soil should you use?
Well, as I mentioned I’m using peat pods this year, mainly yes because it’s simple. Our ground is incredibly wet and I just didn’t want to buy soil when we already have an abundance.
If you need to purchase soil look for a high quality, organic seed starter soil. These mixes will contain quality ingredients necessary to help germinate seeds fast.
If you’re wondering where is the best place to store these starters that’s a great question. Especially if you don’t have a greenhouse or seed starter boxes.
I suggest choosing an area near a window so they can get natural light.
Some folks make stands that incorporate lighting, we did this when we grew luffa on our farm. It was awesome but my large farming days are over so I like to keep things simple now days.
The key is to find a place in your home where they won’t get disturbed from pets or small children and yet still receive a natural light source.
Now if you want to just skip starting seeds indoors all together then direct seed would be your next game plan. Read my Direct Seed tips here, I’ll warn you this is my favorite way to plant because it’s such a breeze.
Seed Starting is just a fun activity no matter how you begin and a reminder that good things are beginning to grow.