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The Beginner’s Guide to Starting Seeds Indoors

When planting season is just around the corner, there are few things more tempting than getting back out in your Dayton garden and playing in the dirt again. It’s understandable why you would want a head start! There are real advantages to starting your own seeds indoors. Starting seedlings indoors is a great way to start gardening earlier in the season, and it’s a great project to do with the kids while you wait for spring to arrive!

With all that said, starting seeds indoors isn’t for everyone. It requires time and equipment, and in some cases, the willingness to problem-solve. Novice gardeners and busy people might want to save some hassle by starting with transplants. Here at Stockslagers Greenhouse and Garden Center here near Dayton, Ohio, we ensure that our seedlings are as healthy as possible so your Dayton garden gets off to a great start.

What are the best plants to start indoors from seed?

The best seeds to start indoors are broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, lettuce, peppers, pumpkins, tomatoes, and watermelons.

That said, there are certain vegetables you do not want to start indoors. Save the root vegetables (such as carrots, beets, and radishes), corn, squash, potatoes, and okra for planting directly outside.

What equipment will I need?

This is what you need in order to start seeds indoors:

  1. Seed-starting trays
  2. Seeds!
  3. A watering can or spray bottle
  4. High-quality potting soil specifically formulated for seed starting
  5. A grow light, if necessary

Ready, Set, Grow!

Fill your seed-starting trays with potting soil.

Read the directions on your seed packets to ensure that you plant the seeds the correct depths and distances apart from other plants.

After sowing the seeds, water or mist the seedlings, but don’t drown them in too much water.

Cover the trays with plastic wrap or a plastic dome that fits over the seed-starting trays. Once you see signs of growth, you can then remove the cover.

Seedlings need a lot of light. Choose a south-facing window or supplement with a grow-light. You might have to supplement with a grow-light if your house’s windows have UV protection. Plants need UV rays to grow!

Mark your calendar for when each seedling type is ready to be transplanted outside. For Southwest Ohio gardeners, May 15th is typically the average last date of frost. Or just calculate six weeks after sowing, and you’ll be on the right track!

A few days before they’re ready to be planted outside, harden them off first. Place them in a shady outdoor location for a few days. Bring them inside if temperatures dip down to freezing at night. When they’re hardened off, they’re ready to join your garden!

Voila! You’ve started your own garden from seed!

Signs Your Seedlings Are Under Stress

A common issue that arises when people plant from seed: they end up with stressed out plants that horticulturists refer to as “stretchy” plants.

Young plants want to grow toward the sun, but if they don’t get the light and care they need, they end up growing too tall and stretchy. In these situations, you need to fortify your plants with a support stake, re-plant the root deeper, and improve the lighting situation.

Also, be sure you turn your seedlings on a daily basis so they don’t grow cooked. Young plants typically want to reach toward the light, so to prevent crooked plants, be sure to rotate them on a daily basis.

Plants Get a Strong Start in our Plant Nursery Near Dayton

One major reason it’s a good idea to start from transplants?

“It really ends up being worth it to start your garden from transplants when you consider the amount of time and intensive care we put into our seedlings,” says Duke Stockslager, “We ensure that we start out with the healthiest plants, we harden them off, and we ensure that we give our customers the strongest start to their gardens each year.”

But if you do decide to start from seed, rest assured that you can always stop by Stockslagers Greenhouse and Garden Center near Dayton to ask any questions you have. Whether you need help picking out equipment or some help problem solving, we’re here to help!

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