Seeding Today, Garden Tomorrow
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as harvesting vegetables fresh from your own garden. Who doesn’t love the snap and crunch of homegrown veggies? Although buying seedlings in spring may be easier, there’s a special pride in growing your vegetables from seed. You’ll spend the final weeks of winter watching them transform into brave sproutlings, and before you know it, they’re ready for life outdoors. If you’ve never grown vegetables from seed before, it’s easy to get started.
Sourcing Your Seeds
Once you’ve decided what you’d like to grow, you’ll start by buying your seeds. The internet makes finding a variety of seeds easy, and with the array of options available, it can be tempting to buy too many. Unless you’re an experienced grower, stick to just a few varieties until you get the hang of things. Here are a few sources to check out:
- Burpee: A staple in the seed market since 1881, offering a huge selection
- Hudson Valley Seed Co.: Known for non-GMO, heirloom, and open-pollinated seeds
- Direct Gardening: If an item you purchased does not live, they’ll replace it for free
Because germination happens within the soil, sunlight isn’t necessary to begin sprouting your seeds. However, you do need warmth. Seeds germinate best in temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Given how warm most of us keep our homes in winter, there’s no reason germination can’t start indoors, even if the end of winter’s still weeks away.1
Three Steps to Seedling Success
First, decide on a container for your seeds. Seedling trays are perfect for this and can be found at most gardening supply stores. Styrofoam egg cartons, yogurt cups, and other reusable containers make environmentally friendly options (just be sure to punch drainage holes in the bottom).
Next, you’ll want to fill your containers with high-quality potting soil that’s been formulated for seed germination. It may be tempting to use normal potting soil, but the nutrients your seeds need can be lacking in these products.
Lastly, follow the directions on the seed packet to sow your seeds at the correct depth and spacing. Make sure to cover your containers with cling wrap at this step to help lock in moisture. Don’t forget to poke some small holes in the cling wrap, though! This will keep air circulating and prevent mold from forming.1
The Great Outdoors
How long it takes for your seedlings to sprout depends on how warm and well-watered they are. In general, though, most plants will germinate within a week or two. At this point, it’s just a matter of time before it’s warm enough outside to transplant your seedlings into their permanent home in the garden.
Don’t forget that new seedlings can be quite sensitive to changes in temperature. Before planting them in the ground, it’s important to make sure the soil is warm enough, and all danger of frost has passed. Try asking the experts at your local nursery for advice on the best time to plant in your area.1
- Gardeningchannel.com, 2020
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.