I am sure there are many people out there that would like to grow plants indoors but not sure how or where to start. I will discuss with you how to start plants from seed, which vegetable and flower plants that can be started indoors, and how to care for plants after germination. It’s cold here in Mid-Michigan so we start some of our vegetable & flower seeds indoors then plant them outside when the frost threat is done in your area.
Which seeds to plant indoors
Starting plants from seed is a fun and rewarding experience, especially if you have kids. You can start your garden early in the season if you live in a winter climate like me. If you are a beginner, you might want to start with a couple easy seeds like tomatoes or marigolds. Other beginner choices are Cosmos, Basil, nasturtium and zinnia just to name a few. Also, when purchasing seeds look to see if it says “direct sow” that means you should not plant early indoors because they grow so fast and should be planted directly in the garden soil. You can usually start 6 to 8 weeks before last frost. For me that is usually Memorial weekend.
Some vegetables to plant indoors 4 to 6 weeks before planting outside
- Brussels sprouts
- Most Herbs
7 Steps from Seed to Garden
- Right container to start your seed
- Preparing the soil
- Add the seed to soil
- Water, feed, repeat
- Plants need light
- When it starts warming up, gradually take plants outside
Timing and Containers
Timing is everything when starting your plants indoors. The goal is to have the seedlings ready to go outside when the weather is favorable and past the frost warning. Most containers can be used as long as it has a 2-3″ depth and a drainage hole. Remember this is just to get the plants ready for the garden, so you don’t need a big container. Seedling starting trays are the best but cleaned out yogurt cups or small solo cups also work just as well.
Preparing soil and adding the seeds
For how to grow plants indoors, using a soil made for seedlings is best. Do not use reused potting soil or dirt from your garden. Start with a fresh sterile potting soil mix. This will help ensure healthy seedlings. Add soil to the containers, moisten the dirt before adding the seed(s), moist but not soaked.
You can either purchase some high nutrient soil or organic soil with no nutrients. If the soil has no nutrients you will want to purchase liquid plant food. Just like us, the plants need food too.
Read the instructions on the back of the seed packages. It will tell you how deep to plant the seed or sprinkle seed on top of soil. Add the seed(s) according to instructions. Some people will plant 2 per pot to see which one grows. If they both grow, keep the biggest, most healthy plant and snip the other.
Once the seeds have been planted, you can cover the containers with either saran wrap, clear plastic bag or some seedling containers come with a clear cover to give the greenhouse effect. This will keep the seeds moist for germination. Once you see sprouts of green, remove the top.
Plants have needs
Just like us plants need water, food and light. Seedlings need a lot of light. If you are growing in a window, try to use a south window for the most sun. Rotate the plants to keep them from leaning towards the light. If plants don’t get enough light they get spindly and weak. If you are using a grow light then set a timer to be on 15 hours per day and have the grow light a couple inches above the plants, as the seedlings grow taller raise the light.
Use a small watering can to water the seedlings. Water them when the top soil is dry. Look into a liquid fertilizer for the plants, as they will need food. Go by the recommended directions and not more. Some people use a little less then the recommended directions because they feel they are trying to make you use up the product. Also, when growing indoors, you will want to have a fan blowing on the plants. This helps with strength, good air movement and disease prevention.
Introducing seedlings to outside
When it starts to warm up outside. You can gradually start introducing the seedlings to being outside, then bring them in for the night about a week before you want to plant them outside. How to grow plants indoors, it’s not a good idea to just plant the seedlings outside. The process for introducing seedlings to the great outdoors is called hardening off. You can start by introducing the plants to a protective spot outside, out of the wind and some shade for a few hours. Each day increase the time outside and in less protective areas to get them used to being in the big garden. Once the frost threat has gone and you did the hardening off process, it’s time to plant in the garden. If you’re in a rural area you may want to put up a garden fence, especially for vegetables. The deer, rabbits and other woodland critters will also like your garden too.
There area some plants that are deer resistant but the vegetable garden is definitely a deer smorgasbord if you don’t protect it.
Now that you have the basics for, which plants to start indoors, container, soil, how to feed, water and then introducing the seedlings to outside. How to grow plants indoors can be fun for the entire family. Either growing a sustaining vegetable garden or flower garden. You can either grow from seed or purchase plants ready to go. With some light, love and patience you could have a wonderful garden to enjoy!
Now that you have the basics for, which plants to start indoors, container, soil, how to feed, water and then introducing the seedlings to outside. How to grow plants indoors can be fun for the entire family. Either growing a sustaining vegetable garden or flower garden. With some light, love and patience you could have a wonderful garden to enjoy!
Interested in more indoor gardening ideas Review of Smart Gardens by Click & Grow
I hope this was helpful to you! Let me know if there is other planting subject you would like to see here.