How to Grow: Seed Starting

Learn about ways to start your flower and vegetable seed indoors successfully

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Seedlings, Tomatoes, Growing Trays, Young PlantsI tend to get a little seedy this time of year. I’m itching to get into the garden, but snow, cold and mud stops me in my tracks. So, I turn my attention to seed starting and get seed crazy. I want to grow everything too soon. We all know what happens if we start out tomatoes now. It’s a tomato jungle by mid-April, a good month before we can put them outdoors. So, here are some seed starting tips for you and me to remember to help contain ourselves.

Don’t go wild starting lots of everything. Remember your 24 tomato seedlings will need somewhere to grow outdoors! Unless you have a huge garden, stick with starting only unusual varieties or plants indoors that you normally won’t find as transplants in garden centers.

Get lit up. Invest in a simple light system with full spectrum lights to grow strong, stocky healthy seedlings. It will really make a difference in their early growth and performance in the garden.

Use the right soil. Regular potting soil can be too heavy for small seeds to germinate through. Look for seed starting mixes that are finely milled, so easier for young seedlings to grow in.

Start at the right time. I know you’re chomping at the bit to sow, but hold on. In most of our area we can still have frost until mid to end May. Use that date and count backwards. Most seedlings should be started from mid March to mid April.

Get creative with your pot. Consider using biodegradable pots made from coir (coconut fiber), cow manure, or peat moss. Check out the new, innovative Velcro pots that are reusable and naturally air prune roots so your transplants are less likely to get root bound.

From the Vermont Garden Journal on Vermont Public Radio.