Seed starting is an exciting beginning to the growing and gardening season. If you typically wait to grow transplants from the garden center or to sow outside, consider the benefits of growing seeds indoors this year.
The Benefits of Starting Seeds Indoors
Whether you’re starting flower seeds indoors or working on this year’s vegetable garden, there are several good reasons to begin inside rather than outside:
- Start gardening sooner. Seed starting provides a task you can do to start gardening before the last of the snow melts. While your yard lies dormant, you can scratch the gardening itch by starting seeds inside.
- Try more varieties. Transplants are easier in many ways. On the other hand, it limits you to what the local garden center sells. With seeds, you can access more varieties of flowers and vegetables.
- Save money. Seeds are usually less expensive than transplants, especially if you’re targeting unique varieties, like heirlooms.
- See better germination rates. You generally get a higher rate of germination of seeds indoors because it’s easier to control conditions, like light, warmth, and moisture.
- Get better growth. Plants started indoors under these ideal conditions, and protected from pests and disease, should grow faster and stronger.
- Control the harvest. By starting seeds indoors at your chosen time, you have the opportunity to better control when plants will reach maturity and provide a harvest. You can also get more out of your vegetable plants by starting as early as possible and continuing with successive sowing outdoors.
When to Start Seeds Indoors
If you’re eager to get started, keep in mind that timing matters. It’s especially important to consider the date when starting vegetable seeds indoors. You’ll need to consider the specific plants and your local climate.
In terms of climate, find out your area’s first frost free date. Then, take a look at the start date on each seed packet. It will tell you how many weeks to start the seeds before that frost free date. Count back from the date to get a good approximate time for starting the seeds.
Starting seeds inside provides several benefits. Keep in mind, though, that some varieties should only be sowed outdoors. Carrots, beets, beans, corn, and sunflowers, for instance, don’t transplant well.
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Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.