Starting Your Garden Inside: Indoor Seeding 101

As the snow seems to never to stop, you might be starting to wish for warmer weather and the ability to start planting. If you have ever wanted to begin planting indoors but never knew where to start, continue reading.

Getting Your Supplies

If you have not already purchased seeds, you will need to do so. After you have purchased seeds, you will need to figure out what to place the seeds in.  You can use plastic food containers like yogurt cups or egg containers, seed flats or trays, or plug trays. It is best to start with smaller, divided containers. 

No matter which container option you choose, you must clean out each container, and if you use any plastic food containers, make sure to poke a few holes in the bottom of each container. 

Do not forget to label your containers for future reference.

Storing Your Seed Containers

Once you have decided what containers to use for your seeds, you need to determine where you will store them. It is best to keep them in an area that no one will be able to walk by and accidentally knock it over and that there is plenty of space for seed growth. You should make sure they are stored in a warm place out of direct sunlight, and if you need to, you can put a heating mat underneath the container for “faster germination.” One place you should not stick your containers is the windowsill due to the fluctuating hot and cold temperatures. 

Sowing the Seeds

Now that you have found containers and know where you’re going to place them, you can begin sowing. The first step you should do is fill the containers with an all-purpose potting mix or seed compost. If you don’t already own potting soil, you can pick up some at Smucker Gardens. Next, you should plant the seed. If you are unsure how deep you should place the seeds, a good estimate is to put it deep enough to place three seeds above it. After the seeds are buried, you will need to water them carefully. The potting mix should be completely moistened. 

After you have watered the potting mix, you should cover the containers with plastic wrap, poking holes in them. Once seedlings have started to sprout, you can take the plastic wrap off and move them to an area with more direct light. If needed, you can use grow lights. Fertilizer will need to be used when the seedlings start showing leaves, and as they get bigger, if you have multiple seedlings together in a tray, you must move them to their own individual pots with potting mix. 

Remember not to overwater.

Do not worry about transferring seeds outdoors just yet. Look forward to future posts to learn more about how to transfer those plants to your outdoor garden.

Here are a list of seeds you can pick up at the Garden Center to begin planting indoors:

  • Broccoli: February 23-March 9
  • Cabbage: February 23-March 9
  • Cantaloupe: March 24-31
  • Cauliflower: February 23-March 9
  • Cucumber: March 24-31
  • Kale: February 23-March 9
  • Lettuce: March 9-24
  • Pumpkin: March 31-April 14
  • Summer squash: March 24-April 7
  • Zucchini: March 24-April 7
  • Eggplant: February 9-23
  • Swiss chard: March 9-24

Sources:

https://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-calendar/PA/Colonial+Park%2C+Dauphin+County#

https://www.almanac.com/starting-seeds-indoors-how-and-when-start-seeds

https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/starting-seeds-indoors

https://www.foodstoragemoms.com/what-to-plant-in-february/

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/wp-content/uploads/2004/10/pennsylvania_map_lg.gif

https://gilmour.com/planting-zones-hardiness-map