Gardening (and living) between the stumps. Anything is possible.

Why I Start Seeds Indoors

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Seed starting cells under the grow light
Seed starting cells under the grow light

When it’s April Fool’s Day, and you wake up to find ten inches of fresh snow on the ground…well, something says it SHOULD be spring, but what can you do? It just may be the perfect day to start seeds!

Though we dread the thought of it, we do regularly get snowfalls in April and even May in these parts. We start seeds indoors every spring because it’s crucial to getting a good garden harvest, especially for those favorite plants (tomatoes, pepper, eggplants) that need a long growing season. Sure, you can buy seedlings at a greenhouse, and that’s a good option for lots of gardeners. But I like to know exactly what’s gone into my plants, and I get great satisfaction in just watching them grow. It’s like spring has come early!

I have a sort of greenhouse in the basement. Okay, it’s actually the laundry room. But there’s room for a little table, and above, my four-foot four-bulb grow light – which, by the way, has been the single most important investment to support my home-grown vegetables!

Here’s what I start early:

Tomatoes. Every home gardener loves tomatoes! I like to have a variety of Roma/paste style tomatoes for cooking, big slicers for a treat if they happen to ripen before frost, and cherry/grape tomatoes to much on straight off the vine.

Basil. Who can grow tomatoes without basil? I like to plant basil between the tomato plants; I’m not sure it has any growing advantage, but it just seems right. I plant extra to dry in my dehydrator, because my family goes through a lot in the winter!

Peppers. Some like it hot, but the fiery ones I grow are just for looks. Sweet peppers are a favorite of my kids, who pick and eat them apple-style while they’re still warm from the sun.

Tomatillos. Not traditionally a northeast vegetable, but I’ve had good luck some years and I love them!

Eggplants. One I absolutely love but am rarely successful growing…yet I keep trying. They have done best for me under a greenhouse-type cover.

The seeds, once in their new nurturing environment of organic starting mix, rest comfortably under the timer-controlled grow light. I will visit them daily to check moisture; they need watering more often under the light. I’ll expect sprouts in a few days!



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