It’s April, which means that you can now start many of your produce seeds indoors to get a jump start on your veggie garden.  Growing produce from seeds isn’t just a great way to save money compared to buying ready-to-plant seedlings from a garden store, but it is also super rewarding!

Before you get your hands dirty, take time to review the planting schedule to see when you can start your seeds indoors and when they should be transplanted outside.  Once you have an ideal timeline planned out, it’s time for the fun part!  Below are 7 tips & tricks to help make your indoor seedlings a success.

  1. Use seed starting mix. Purchase a  quality seed starting mix that will help your seeds grow into healthy and strong seedlings. Pre-moisten before putting in seeds. Fill your containers about 3/4 full with seed starting mix.  You can also mix in a little cinnamon as it prevents fungus and helps prevent dampening off.
  2. Give them plenty of light. Place your seeds under grow lights or near a window to ensure they get plenty of sunshine. 12-16 hours of light is needed by seeds for the best growth.
  3. Keep soil well-watered. Keep soil moist but not drenched.  Overwatering can lead to mold growth.  To ensure that you aren’t drowning your new seeds, try using a misting spray bottle instead of watering can. Let your soil dry out just a bit between waterings.
  4. Repot in larger containers. When the seedlings get their second pair of leaves, they will need to be repotted into large contrainers.  Prepare the larger pots with a potting mix that includes plenty of compost. Move the seedlings carefully to the new containers and water well. Keep pots out of direct sun for a few days.
  5. Gradually introduce to outdoors. Hardening off will slowly adjust your seedlings to the outdoors and give them the best chance to flourish. About two weeks prior to replanting outside take your plants outdoors under cover- the shade of a tree is good spot. Leave them out for a couple hours and then bring them back inside. This will help them get used to the sun, wind, rain, and other conditions gradually.
  6. Plant extra seeds. Plant more than you think you will need to make up for the seeds that don’t sprout or mature. You can also start seeds every 6 weeks so you have a continual supply of seedlings ready to plant, this will keep your garden producing for much longer.
  7. Follow packet instructions- Certain seed types need specific care and instructions.  Some seeds may need to be soaked,scratched, or chilled before planting.  Some may need their container covered with a top or plastic wrap to create a greenhouse effect.  Read your seed packet before planting for best results