Fashion & Beauty | April 25, 2015
Starting Vegetables Indoors
Let’s face it, supermarket vegetables aren’t cheap and many are sprayed with chemicals or grown using pesticides. Starting your own indoor garden from seed is a great alternative plus you’ll gain six weeks over waiting to plant outside! It’s fun for the family, healthier, space friendly and cost affective! So get a jump start your fresh vegetable garden indoors and let the healthy eating begin!
First you’ll need to know vegetables can be picky. Some do not enjoy the indoors as much as others. Root crops like carrots, turnips, beets and parsnips are cold hardy and can be directly planted from seed outdoors fairly early in the season. Growing indoors is not necessary. Beans, corn, and peas don’t fare as well when transplanted so stick to growing these outdoors as well.
There are however, several vegetables that are perfect to start inside! These veggies handle root disturbance well and truly benefit from a jump start on the season. Plus, providing these plants with close to perfect growing conditions, (regulated temperatures, fertility and moisture) will make it easier for them to grow well!
The best time to start your indoor seeds is approximately 2-3 months before your average date of final frost. Depending on where you live, that could be the end of March, if so start sowing your seeds in February. If your final frost is in April or May, start planting as late as the first of March. Now that the vegetable selection has been made and you’ve figured out the best time in your region for sowing, let’s plant your indoor produce!
What you need
Once the seeds have sprouted, move them to a sunny window. If you don't have one you can invest in lighting. Spot grow bulbs such as the Hagen Exo Terra Swamp Glo Splash, or Lite Source LS-1695 use small amounts of electricity. A variety of grow lights can be found at most home improvement stores.
After 6-8 weeks, it’s time to harden off plants. This process will get them acclimated to the outdoors slowly, giving them the best chance at survival. Since growing only indoors, they are not prepared for the harsh real sunlight.
Begin by setting them outside in a shady area with indirect sunlight for a few days. Be sure to bring all plants in on nights with a freeze advisory. For plants that call for part shade on the growing directions, leave them in this protected shady area for several more days. For plants that like full sun, after the initial few days in the shade, place them in a sunny location for one hour. Follow this pattern by increasing the number of hours in full sun each day. This process will harden them for the season. By the end of the second week your plants will be wind blown, sun soaked and ready to move into their new home.
Before you transplant, water the pots well. Make sure the new location has warm, somewhat moist soil. Try not to disturb the delicate new roots as much as possible. Transplant your plants late in the afternoon on a day with little wind. Add snail bait to keep your new plants from being eaten. Lastly, water for 4-5 days to help them recover from the shock and grow quicker.
Indoor gardening allows you to start out with a packet of tiny seeds and end up with beautiful, chemical and pesticide free produce. It’s a great family activity that saves you money, keeps your meals natural and your family healthier! Happy planting!
Credits // Author: Wendi Wendt