Starting Seeds Indoors: It’s All About Timing

The winter weather can be pretty grim where I live. In order to buoy my spirits, I dream about my veggie garden. I’m poring over the earliest seed catalogs as soon as they arrive and making lists of all the varieties I want to try. I’m also waging an interior struggle with myself, on when to start my seeds. 

I am notorious for starting my seeds too early. I have even been so bad as to start some in February, with the intention of moving the plants to bigger pots and grow them inside until May. The results, predictably, were leggy indoor seedlings that were spindly and didn’t look all that well. Last year I did really well. I didn’t plant a single seed until mid March. I’m also known for planting too much so I was able to give plants to my Mum, sis, and neighbors. 

Another problem I have is putting my directly sown seeds in early enough. It always seems like it is too cold for germination so I delay planting my snow peas and other cool season crops. Unsurprisingly, my yields are low because the heat comes before the plants are producing much. I resolve to do better on my seed starting this coming year. 

In spite of these issues, we always have plenty of produce to can, dry, and freeze. Thick, large seeds like peas and beans get a pre-germination treatment before going into the soil. This method of seed starting results in quicker plants. All we do is soak the seeds in moist paper towels until they crack and roots form. The pre-germination really helps plants develop much faster than without it. 

Our indoor seedlings get a heat mat and plant light. Without these additives, I fear few of our heat lovers would sprout. Plus, we don’t have great light in the home. The light keeps the plants from growing lop-sided and boosts growth. 

With all the tools at my disposal, plus our saved seed and some newly ordered varieties, I should have nothing but success. But even after I have babied my indoor seedlings, they still need to go outside. And that’s where things can go bad. We grow organic, so insects are a common problem. Insects and weeds wage a war to displace or kill all my seedlings. But perseverance, timing, and stubborn tenacity should win the day and I will have tons of veggies to grace our table. 

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