Tips on growing Veggies From Seeds
Growing vegetables from seeds may seem like a daunting task to the first-time gardener. With a few seed starting tips in your back pocket, however, it's actually pretty easy and can give you a jump start on the growing season. Seeds are also a great way to save money, and they give you far more control and variety when
compared to buying starter plants. With a basic understanding of sprouting and transplanting, as well as a few green thumb tricks, you'll be serving home-grown veggies for supper on a regular basis.
Starting Seeds Indoors
Typically, sprouting seeds indoors is the preferred method for starting a variety of vegetable plants. There are many advantages to this method, and you'll generally find that it's far easier than sowing them outdoors. Most importantly, you'll get a head-start on the growing season, and you'll be able to protect those delicate seedlings from the threat of a late frost and frigid soil. The
best candidates for indoor sprouting include:
Tender vegetables like tomatoes and peppers.
Bulb plants such as onions.
A variety of other plants like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant and more.
The process for growing vegetables from seeds indoors is relatively simple. Main considerations include the soil or soilless mix, the containers, the light source and water.
The delicate nature of seedlings requires a soil mixture that is precisely balanced. Just like Goldilocks and her three bear-friends, the mix needs to be just right. If it's too wet or too dry, too heavy or too light, the baby plants will have a difficult time taking root, and the chance for success will be far lower. The following is a soiless mix conducive to sprouting seeds indoors:
Four to six parts peat moss.
One part perlite.
One part vermiculite.
Since seeds contain their own nutrients, adding a fertilizer isn't necessary. However, it's vital that the mixture is sterile and free of disease.
The containers should also be sterilized. To clean them properly, use one part bleach to nine parts water. Any recycled container can be used, but it shouldn't be larger than four inches across. Since you'll be transplanting them in the near future, anything bigger will simply waste soil and space.
Lighting can come from a variety of sources as long as the delicate seedlings get plenty of it. Depending on your location, a south-facing window may suffice. If you live in the north, you may want to use artificial lighting. Before you go out and spend a bunch of money on grow lights, however, consider using fluorescent shop-lights from your local hardware store. Many experienced gardeners have found great success from this inexpensive lighting source.
The final ingredient for successfully sprouting seeds indoors is water. Before planting, ensure the soil is moist, and cover the containers with a plastic bag during germination. Most importantly, never water the seedlings directly. Instead, place the containers in a tray and add water indirectly.
Sowing Seeds Outdoors
There are certain vegetables that must be directly planted outdoors. These include veggies such as corn, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, peas, beans and other root crops, brassicas and legumes. Since these types of plants are generally durable and resistant to cold, they can be sown in their final positions. In fact, transplanting can be detrimental and actually halt growth for several weeks.
The seed packet will contain all the information needed for success such as soil depth and time to harvest regardless of the plant type. Using this vital information as well as the seed starting tips above will ensure a bountiful supply of veggies for your kitchen table. Check out our Vegetable Growing Tips category for more information.