Get a jumpstart on your home garden by starting your seeding indoors! Planting seeds and tending to them indoors can be a great option to overcome unpredictable spring weather in Colorado. Stephanie Smith, Lawnstarter, offers tips to start seeding indoors and care for seedlings.
Tips to Start Seeding Indoors
Some areas of Colorado can have short growing seasons compared to neighboring states. These shorter seasons mean that some plant varieties won’t get enough time outside to fully germinate and mature before harvest time arrives. In addition to winter gardening tips, starting seeds indoors is a smart way to increase your garden’s production and protect seedlings from cooler temperatures. Follow these tips on how to start seeds indoors this winter and spring:
Know Your Seeds
Collecting a few seed catalogs over the winter can be a great way to spend cold winter nights as well as prepare yourself for your upcoming garden. Read about the seeds that you will be purchasing and follow the proper guidelines for germination, soil environments, and spacing. Knowing what seeds need to be started indoors, and those that can be planted directly into outside soil, is key to having a successful gardening season.
Be Aware Of the Weather
Some gardeners like to start their seeds early but then run into problems when their plants have outgrown containers but the weather is still too cold to transplant outside. Knowing your area of Colorado, and when the last frost has occurred over the past five years, will help you in choosing when to plant certain varieties. Plants such as tomatoes and flowers only need to be started indoors about 6 weeks prior to the last frost for ultimate growing potential. Being aware of an unusually cold or mild Colorado winter will help in knowing when the time is right to start your seeds indoors. Consider asking a fellow gardener in the area and compare notes on when to start as well.
Using an egg carton to germinate seeds is a great way to make sure that you don’t end up spending a lot of space on seeds that don’t sprout. Be prepared that not every seed you plant will end up growing to maturity. Transplant successful seedlings into larger containers that will hold them until you are ready to plant outdoors. Use clean containers or seed trays filled with a seed-starting mixture of potting soil to boost the chance of those seedlings reaching maturity. Don’t forget to label those containers so that you know what you planted!
If this is your first time starting seeds indoors, consider trying just a few varieties that will benefit the most from extra time indoors. As your experience grows you will be better at judging what plants will need in the future.
Provide Heat and Light
Seeds that have been just planted will need a little bit of extra warmth to encourage sprouting. If using a seed tray, cover the tray with a fitted plastic lid to capture warmth inside the tray. Other good spots to capture warmth would be on top of a dryer or other appliance. Placing pots near a south facing window can also be helpful if the window is not drafty or near a door. Many Colorado gardeners choose to use lights to encourage growth once sprouts reach about a half inch in height. These lights boost the likelihood of seedling success, especially in colder Colorado winters where lots of warm sunlight can be sparse.
Starting your garden seeds indoors is a great way to increase the harvest of your garden and your chance to grow vegetables that would normally not reach production by the time the first Colorado frost comes through in the fall. Knowing how to start seedlings indoors is the first step to a beautiful and successful gardening season.
Stephanie Smith is the regional marketing representative of LawnStarter Lawn Care, a stress free online platform that connects homeowners with lawn care professionals for convenient services.