6/12 Edible Gardening 101: Seeds, Seedlings or Both?

Seeds? Seedlings? Or Both ?

If you want to start seedlings indoors to transplant, you will need good quality soil (I use PW20) and grow lights. I use food plastic containers, old red solo cups, and yogurt containers  which I have my son use his wood burner to put holes in the bottom for drainage.

I do prefer to start my own seedlings inside, and purchased an inexpensive rack and grow lights for each shelf. On each shelf I place a boot tray from the dollar store to be able to water seedlings from underneath the seed trays. Much easier and less messy.

Total investment less than $100 and can be reused indefinitely.

In February, for our area 6A, I’m starting leeks, onions, inside now as they take a long time to establish transplants.

Our growing season usually starts in mid-late April with the last frost being late May. So working backwards from those dates sees us starting inside next  month, March, cold weather crop seedlings like spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, peas, beets, although I very rarely start root crops inside, usually preferring to direct sow them in late April right into the garden.

In April, I will begin inside seedlings of tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers and many flowers. These will not get transplanted outside until after the last frost.

Seedlings should be “hardened off “ -exposed to the outside temperature in a sheltered area about a week before transplanting for a few hours a day, increasing time daily. This will eliminate shock.

It really depends on your budget, time and of course the weather. Seeds are cheaper, but sometimes take longer.

If the weather is bad and our growing season is even shorter than normal, I will do seedlings for some things rather than direct sow seeds. Also sometimes I have lost seeds to a frost I didn’t plan on, so rather than lose more time trying to replant, I will grab seedlings to ensure we still get a harvest in time. We also have a bunch of us that trade seedlings. It’s fun!

But starting seeds inside is joyful anyway. Even in a small house.

Whatever you decide, there is nothing more satisfying than watching those seeds pop up from the soil-Promise!

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