The best time to start garden seeds indoors depends on a few factors, including:
- The type of plant you are growing: Different plants have different germination times and frost tolerance. Be sure to read the seed packet for specific instructions.
- Your climate: The last frost date in your area is a good indicator of when it is safe to plant seedlings outdoors. You can find your last frost date by searching online or by asking your local gardening center.
- Your desired harvest time: If you want to start harvesting early, you can start your seeds indoors earlier. However, be careful not to start them too early, as they can become leggy and weak if they are not transplanted outdoors soon enough.
Here is a general guide to when to start different types of seeds indoors:
- Cool-season crops: Start these seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Examples include lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, and cabbage.
- Warm-season crops: Start these seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost date. Examples include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and squash.
- Tender perennials: Start these seeds indoors 8-12 weeks before the last frost date. Examples include impatiens, begonias, and petunias.
Here are some additional tips for starting seeds indoors:
- Use a sterile seed starting mix.
- Plant the seeds at the depth recommended on the seed packet.
- Water the seeds gently and keep them moist but not soggy.
- Provide the seedlings with plenty of light, either from a grow light or a sunny window.
- Harden off the seedlings before transplanting them outdoors. This means gradually exposing them to cooler temperatures and outdoor conditions for a week or two before planting.
With a little planning, you can successfully start your garden seeds indoors and have a bountiful harvest this year!