The most rewarding aspect of starting seeds indoors is the plethora of choices! You’d never find the variety of tomatoes, lettuces, onions and so many other garden favorites if you’re only shopping for plants in-season. There are plenty of other benefits too, ranging from cost (seeds are cheap!), harvest time, and your ability to grow veggies that may not be as suited for your climate, especially if you have to wait too long for your soil to warm up. What’s more? It’s easy! If you’ve never started veggies from seed, don’t stress. But do start small. Try choosing a handful of your go-to veggies for recipes and meals. It’s best to go with long season crops: kale, okra, broccoli or eggplants to name a few. These options and more will give you a fun, fresh way to jump-start your spring garden.
Top Choices for Beginners Starting Seeds Indoors
- Peppers. This is the perfect example of endless variety when buying seeds and starting inside. You can pack in the heat with some ghost peppers or go sweet with our Rainbow Bell Blend. Colorful and flavorful, no summer garden is complete without an array of pepper plants!
- Tomatoes. If there’s any one veggie to start indoors, it’s a tomato! Nothing beats the juicy homegrown goodness, so this is one seed to get right. From Beefsteak to Black Cherry or Green Zebra, pick your size, color and flavor of choice.
- Broccoli. Starting broccoli from seed ensures a vibrant taste and a powerhouse supply of vitamins A and K. Shown to have cholesterol-lowering benefits, broccoli earns its weight as mom’s favorite go-to vegetable! Note: broccoli should be moved outside as soon as it has sprouted a couple leaves so it can be exposed to cooler temperatures.
- Kale. Called a superfood for good reason! With beneficial nutrients, kale leaves can be harvested as young, fresh, tender leaves, or fully grown. Introduce it to your diet for a healthy dose of calcium, iron, as well as vitamin C and vitamin K.¬†One cup of chopped¬†kale¬†provides more than your recommended daily allowance of these vitamins. Like broccoli, it needs to head outdoors as soon as you see a couple of leaves.
- Onions. Want the easy way out? Grow onions! They are simple to start, don’t take up much space, and seem to go in every meal. A favorite is Tokyo Long White Onions for soups, salads and stir-fries. De-lish!
Now What? Check Your Calendar!
Knowing when to start is probably the trickiest part of growing seeds inside because you need to have a good idea of the last frost for your area. It’s pretty simple to check online resources or contact a local nursery for help. The Farmer’s Almanac even has a Planting Calendar where you insert your zip code to find suggested “best” times to start. Eden Brothers’ also provides instruction for each item you purchase that includes sowing method, how far in advance of frost to begin, when to transplant based on temperatures, and more. Just visit our website, search your product, and click on the Planting Instructions button. All that is to say… it just takes a little calculation and Mother Nature on your side.
Tools of the Trade
It doesn’t take much to be on your way to a thriving garden, but you’ll definitely want to make a few key quality purchases.
- Good seed-starting mix. Your local garden center can direct you to a product that balances water drainage and prevents diseases.
- Appropriate containers with drainage holes. The choices are endless here: plastic six-packs, recycled pots, seedling flats, egg containers, etc. Just be absolutely sure they can drain. You might also add some labels to help you remember what’s what!
- Grow lights. This is not a requirement but will definitely give you more control and peace of mind. Consistent lighting is important, but remember you’ll need to suspend grow lights above your plants. Fluorescent lights are usually placed 3 to 12 inches above the plants, while LEDs are around 12 to 24 inches above. A sunny window can also work!
- Fertilizer. We always go with organic to give your seedlings the nutrition they deserve. Once your plant is actively growing you can fertilize… but not too much. Try weekly to avoid burning plants.
- Watering can. Make your daily watering more fun with a special can that can be left out as a reminder. Check your seedlings daily, and keep them moist but do not overwater or saturate them.
- Extra pots. You may need to transfer seedlings to larger pots before they’re ready to go outside, so it’s easiest if you go ahead and stock up on some extras.
Time to Plant!
You’ve probably heard to plant seeds two-to-three times as deep as the seed is wide. But we’ve made it easier than that. Check your packets! The planting depth is listed for every veggie. Be careful to not go too deep, and always plant extra seeds! While we have record-breaking germination rates, it’s still likely that a few little fellows won’t survive. Plus, you’ll want to discard some of your weakest seedlings and hang onto the strongest. When it’s all said and done, you’ll have a new hobby and fresh veggies at your fingertips.