How to start your vegetable transplants indoors.
Do not start plants too early. Some veggie
are ready to be put out into your garden within 4-6 weeks from seeding, so make sure you are planning ahead on your calendar as to when the transplants would be going outdoors. Will your garden plot be ready for planting? Will the temperature be warm enough? Remember heat loving plants like cucumbers and squash need warm weather, usually the end of May or June in northern climates.
Use clean pots or cell trays when planting your seeds. The most common cells trays come in 24 or 72 cell sizes. The 72 cell trays are for vegetables such as lettuce, greens, and herbs. The 24 cell are used for starting veggie plants that are larger in size when mature such as broccoli, squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Check out our
alphabetically list of vegetables
. If you are reusing trays and cells make sure you clean them with a water/bleach mixture.
Use a good starting mix. You can purchase special starting mixes in most nurseries or garden centers. There are recipes available for making your own starting mix if you are planning to start a large number of plants.
When planting your seeds do not bury them too deeply. Most seeds just need to be placed in the cell and a light dusting of starting mix put on top. Lightly watering will often bury the seed to the depth it needs. When watering your transplants water gently using warm water as it will be absorbed into the soil mixture more readily.
Keep the soil moist. Since seed are planted close to the surface the cell will dry out quickly, so water regularly so the soil stays moist. Laying a piece of plastic over the top of the tray will help to keep the soil moist as well.
Once the seed sprouts take off the plastic, make sure the plants get full sunlight and there is good air circulation around the trays. Keep the soil moist as well. All of these will help to grow a healthy plant.
Plant the seedlings into your garden at the proper time. A seedling kept too long indoors will become stressed or if it is planted outdoors too early it may not grow well. Once the vegetable seedling has reached the proper size (a good rule of thumb is for the plant to have at least 4 large leaves) plant it to your garden bed.
- Make sure you have good
. If you are buying new seeds choose to buy from a local garden center or from a reputable seed catalogue. If at all possible use seeds that have been trial planted in a similar climate to yours that way you know they will grow well in your area.
Vegetable gardening books written by Catherine Abbott, Your Vegetable Gardening Helper.
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Welcome to the world of vegetable gardening!