When and How to Start Your Garden Indoors

Often, when it’s cold out, you don’t really think about gardening. However, this time of year can be the perfect time to start your seeds indoors. Getting the seeds going can make it easier to plant when the spring rolls around and you might just have healthier produce this year.

Starting your seeds in February or March, depending on the plant, will give you time to let the seeds germinate and grow before they get planted outside. Some will take longer to germinate than others and you will need to do a bit of math to figure out when to start your indoor seeds. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.

Figure out the Frost Date

Last FrostFiguring out when the frost date will be isn’t an exact science. However, there are some good tools that can help you figure it out. Typically, these tools base it off of the historical average and they don’t give you an exact date, but they will give you a range.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac is one of the best choices for figuring out the frost date. They will give you a range of dates and a 50% probability that the last frost will happen during that range.

Another great tool is called Dave’s Garden, which will tell you when to expect the last frost of spring and when the first of all will happen. They will also give you an idea of the frost-free growing season and what to expect.

PlantMaps is a third tool, which will help to give you a heat map of the last frost date in each state. You can use this to figure out the last frost in Pittsburgh and even down to the zip code you live in.

It’s best to choose the last day of the range when figuring this out, to be safe. So, if the range you come up with is from April 25th to May 15th, wait until May 15th to plant your seeds outdoors.

Choose Your Plants

After you know when the last frost of the spring will happen (or an estimate) you can choose your plants. If you plan to grow vegetables or fruit, make sure you choose things you enjoy eating. This will help to ensure you get the most out of your garden when you do plant it and harvest the produce.

Once you choose the plants you want to grow, you need to do a little research about the seeds. Since every plant is different and the seeds will germinate at different times, you need to consider this when starting your indoor seeds.

Unless you saved seeds from last year, you probably have a package with a chart on the back. It will tell you when the seeds will germinate, which can be very helpful. It’s also important to consider the temperature you will keep your home at, as well.

Germinate SeedsAlong with figuring out when the seeds will germinate, you should choose your plants based on what grows well together. Some plants will also help to prevent pests from coming after other plants, which can be a huge help.

For example, if you plant tomatoes, they are often attacked by spider mites, hornworms, whiteflies and aphids. However, if you plant them with onions, the onions will help to deter some of the pets, while thyme will also help to deter others. Dill and marigolds can also help to keep pests away from your tomatoes, as well.

Cabbage, on the other hand, gets attacked by caterpillars. If you plant cabbage with tomatoes, it makes a great pairing because tomatoes help to repel caterpillars.

This can get very advanced, but choosing your plants based on what will complement each other can be a smart way to go.

Set a Planting Date

Now, you need to choose the planting date for your germinated seeds. This will be the date you transfer them into your garden. If the last frost is supposed to be May 10th, which is a Wednesday, you may not have the time to garden in the middle of the week. It might be smarter to set your plant date for the following Saturday.

Regardless, you need a plant date so that you can determine the best time to start your seeds indoors. Once you have a plant date, you can just count back the days/weeks according to the amount of time it takes for your seeds to germinate and start to grow. Some plants will thrive indoors and can be planted early to create small plants you can transfer into your garden on your plant date.

Finally, Plant your Seeds

Indoor Seed StartingNow that you have everything figured out, you need to plant your seeds according to your schedule. This should be done with the proper indoor supplies including starting trays, potting soil, water, gloves and your seeds.

Make sure you follow the instructions for the depth and how many seeds to plant for each type of plant. If you don’t you could plant too many seeds in the same spot and end up choking out your plants.

After you’ve started your seeds, make sure you water them on schedule and watch them grow!

If you have any questions, comments, or want to make sure you have all of your bases covered when buying a home in the Pittsburgh area, Feel free to e-mail me at brian@briansellspittsburgh.com

I am an annual top producing, full time, professional RE/MAX Realtor in the Greater Pittsburgh area. I have the most Zillow Group reviews of any individual agent in the entire state of Pennsylvania. I hold coveted real estate designations such as, CRS, ABR, GRI, SRES, e-PRO & am a member of the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing.

My 2015 stats included an average sale price to list price ratio of 98%, an average days on the marked of 41 and nearly $14 million in total production. I was also inducted into the RE/MAX Hall of Fame.

I am also the social media/technology director at RE/MAX Advanced, REALTORS. You can find me on any social media platform by searching #BrianSellsPittsburgh

I donate a portion of my commission to the Children’s Miracle Network and I am also a member of the Giveback Homes Organization and the Teacher Next Door Program.

Posted on February 17, 2017 at 1:49 pm by Brian Teyssier

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