Starting Seeds Indoors

Why start seeds indoors? It’s simple, gardeners start their seeds indoors in order to get a jump on the gardening season. Doing so allows them to gain a few weeks of extra growing time particularly in regions with short growing seasons.  It also gives gardeners greater selection and more control over growing conditions.

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Another advantage is that it is cheaper to buy packets of seed as opposed to buying young plants from a garden center. The economics is easy more plants at a much lower price. Your garden production will increase and the extra plants can be given to your friends and neighbors.  When you plant your own seeds, you have control over the way they are raised. This may be especially important if you are an organic gardener who wants to control their process from the choice of non-GMO or heirloom variety seeds through to starting mix composition and fertilizer selection.

Which vegetables are best started indoors? Most gardeners agree that vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes, and herbs like basil are best started early.  A good rule of thumb is to start seedlings about 6 weeks before the last spring frost.  Seeds sprout best at indoor temperatures between 65 to 75°F. A heat mat may increase germination rates and is a good investment. Remember young seedlings are fragile and sensitive.  Young plants are easily damaged by fluctuations in temperature and excess watering so water carefully. A mist sprayer is a good choice.

Most veggies need 8 hours of direct sun, so it’s important to have a grow light if you are sowing your vegetable seeds indoors.  If your seedlings get too leggy (tall with small leaves) then additional lighting is necessary.  Amazon offers an excellent selection of grow lights that use LED technology and traditional fluorescent lights.

Lastly, your seedlings need to be hardened off prior to transplanting in your garden.  This allows plants to get slowly accustomed to the great outdoors.  It will also decrease losses and die back. Over a 10 day period move your plants outside in a protected area, like a back porch, for a few hours each day.  Not too much light or wind. Gradually increase their exposure to full sun and wind conditions; your plants are now ready for transplanting.

May you have a successful gardening season.

 

Five Online Plant Companies Worth Checking Out

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One of the hardest decisions a gardener can make is where to buy their seeds, plants and gardening supplies. As you start looking for those annuals, perfect perennials, and choice veggies to fill your yard, consider shopping online. Here at The Plant King, we have compiled a list of our favorite garden seed catalogs and suppliers. These companies have perfected the art of shipping living, growing things, so they arrive perfectly healthy and are ready to thrive. Here is some information about our favorite online companies – where you can feel confident placing your order. Log onto their websites and request their paper catalogs today to have seeds in time for spring planting! Or order online directly and let the plants come to you.

These websites are packed with instructions and information from planting zones to plant care. And remember, online shopping may be the solution if you can’t find unique or special varieties at your local garden centers. Our biggest tip is to order early, especially if you are after something specific because once these companies sell out for the season, that’s all there is. And now on to our list of the best 2019 online garden seed catalogs!

Park Seed
Perhaps one of the most popular garden seed catalogs is Park Seed. They offer a great selection of both flower and vegetable seeds. Prices are affordable and the seed is always fresh. Shipping is fast, usually just a couple of days. Highly recommended. Additionally, they also offer some live plants.

Burpee Seeds
Nothing signals spring like the arrival of the annual Burpee Catalog in the mailbox. Burpee has always had one of the most colorful catalogs, and a wide selection of seeds. They are especially good at their vegetable selections, as many veggie gardeners already know. They continue to add new varieties each year. Their website excels at garden advice and how-to videos and articles about seed starting.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds
They have an extensive seed catalog, with lots of online tips and resources as well. Johnny Selected Seeds has a longstanding reputation as a quality Non-GMO company and it’s 100% employee-owned.

EdenBrothers
An online company that offers one of the largest seed and flower bulb assortments available. Their offerings for the home gardener include hundreds of heirloom varieties, rare and hard to find flower, vegetable, and herb seeds. They also have a large selection of flower bulbs for both spring and fall planting. A very helpful website that allows users to make selections according to flower color, plant height, plant life cycle, blooming and light requirements.

Burgess Seed
A company with over 106 years of experience. It is one of the largest producers and distributors of home gardening products and offers a wide range of quality gardening plants, trees, seeds, bulbs, and supplies at good prices. Check out their one-cent sales! This useful website has many helpful categories to aid buyers with their selections.

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