Early spring has officially arrived and it’s time to start planting the garden. Seeds should be started indoor pronto, so it’s high time to get organized and get to it!
I started my seeds a couple weeks ago inside under a grow light. In past years I have made newspaper seed pots, which then get planted directly into the garden. (Watch my How to Make Newspaper Seed Pots how-to video to learn more) This year I did a 20-minute blitz of indoor seed prep using recycled black plastic seed trays I had held onto from previous years.
I lightly filled the seed pots with potting soil – not regular garden soil. Potting soil appropriate for seeds will be a light-weight mix high in nutrients (usually compost) and have added components (some mix of coir, peat moss, and vermiculite) for good drainage and water retention. Need more guidance on starting indoor seeds? Check out my Seed Starting Basics post.
Many seed packets will guide you on the planting depth, but it seems like several of mine do not have that info. Your general rule of thumb should be to plant seeds a depth of about two times their size. Small seeds like lettuces barely get covered with soil. Larger seeds like squash get planted about 1/2-1″ in depth.
I am growing several varieties of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, broccoli, kale and leeks indoors this year. Pretty soon the kale, leeks and broccoli will be transplanted outside since they can handle cool spring temperatures. I will move some indoor seed pots of squash and melons under the grow light in their place.
All the remaining seedlings – tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons and squash – will get transplanted outside around Mother’s Day. Check your local guidelines, as this will vary based on where you live. Generally, it’s safe to transplant these hot-weather crops about two weeks after your last frost.
Are you struggling to find the time to get your seed starting operation off the ground this year? Don’t sweat it. Local, independently-owned nurseries are usually your best bet for good varieties of organic vegetable starts. I bought starts when Juniper was a newborn and transplanted them into our beds. I still had a great garden that year.
If you are growing seeds inside this early spring, I would love to hear about what you have planted. Even with a fairly on-time start, a few older seed packets haven’t germinated yet. So I might be buying a handful of vegetable starts after all!