I’ve talked to so many gardeners who are experienced at growing plants outdoors but hesitate to start seeds indoors. To me, starting seeds is one of the most rewarding parts of gardening. It gets my hands in the soil (or at least the seed-starting mix) during the dark, cold days of late winter and early spring. Here are answers to some of the questions I've been asked most:
There's no better way to beat the winter blues! Plus, the selection is almost endless.
Most seed packets suggest a planting time, such as "sow seeds indoors six weeks before your average last frost date." To calculate your planting date, start by determining your average last spring frost date, mark it on a calendar, and count back in one-week increments. Learn more: When to Start Your Seeds.
Although it's possible to grow seedlings on a sunny windowsill, you'll get much better results if you grow them under lights because you can provide the abundant light that seedlings crave. If they don't get enough light, seedlings grow weak and spindly.
It's best to use soil that's blended especially for seed starting. Garden soil tends to drain poorly, so seedlings can rot. In addition, it can harbor disease organisms that damage or kill young seedlings.