January: Time to Start Your SEEDS Indoors!

January 9, 2018

January weather is chilly...and not always so inviting when it comes to putting around in the outdoor garden. January IS the perfect time to get started on your spring garden from the warm comfort of the indoors.

Here are a few plants you can (and should!) start from seed indoors right now:

  • Warm season crops such as tomato, eggplant, and peppers. Then they will be ready to transplant outside as soon as threat of cold weather passes.
  • Cole crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and chard. You can squeeze another round of these crops in before the heat of the summer hits. Transplant outdoors in February.
  • Lettuce and mustard greens. Quick germination and growth will provide you a salad in no time!
  • Herbs such as basil, sage and chives. Herb plants will be ready to transplant outside once the weather warms.
  • Edible flowers such as nasturtium. We all need a little color—so add a pretty edible flower to the mix.

How to be successful

You don’t need to be born with a green thumb (because who is?) to be successful with seed-starting. It just takes some practice and experimentation.

Seed Starting Tips

  • Moisture: Growing media should always be damp to the touch, similar to a wrung-out sponge. Never let it dry out but don’t let it stay soggy either.
  • Light: There is usually not enough natural light indoors, even windowsills, for young seedlings. Seedlings need bright light and long days to thrive. Use grow lamps for successful seedlings.
  • Grow Lamps: To produce happy seedlings, you can hang some HO T5 fluorescent lamps, CFLs, or LEDs a few inches away from the growing media. Raise up the lamps as seedlings grow.
  • Temperature:  Many seeds germinate well in the 68°F to 78°F (20–26°C) range for both soil and air temperature. If temperatures are too cold in your space, be sure to use a heat mat to speed up germination.
  • Media: When buying or mixing your own growing media you must create a balance between water retention and good drainage. Small seedlings can dry out quickly and die; they need growing media that can hold adequate moisture, but not too much so they don’t rot.
  • If you want to mix your own growing media for seeds, try this recipe;                          

4 parts fine-screened organic compost                                                    

2 parts coir, moistened

1 part perlite

1 part vermiculite

Sowing new plants from seed is pretty exciting and fun. Starting some seedlings inside can give you a jump on the growing season and add some much needed green to the dreary winter season.

My upcoming book, Gardening Under Lights: The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers comes complete with a section on propagating seeds and cuttings indoors. Pre-order now on Amazon!

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