Starting your seeds indoors and far before the last spring freeze in your area will give your garden extra time to come to maturity thereby increasing your yields. You can add 4-8 weeks to your growing season by getting them going early. Seeds can be started indoors, in cold frames or in greenhouses.
To get started in your house, your seeds will need, a seed pan (with drain holes in the bottom), a mixing container, seed starter mix, peat moss or potting mix a spray bottle with water and some plastic wrap.
Get your soil wet and pack it into the seed pan. Press the soil firmly but don’t pack it down. Plant your seed shallow and about half an inch apart. Very small seeds should be sprinkled on top. Next, cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil (or vermiculite) and dampen the soil with water from the spray bottle. Don’t soak the soil, just dampen it.
Cover the seeds with plastic and put them in a sunny location. Ideal air temperature is a constant 70-75 F. Keep the soil damp. Once the seeds sprout, remove the plastic and put your seeds in full sunlight. Keep the soil damp until its time to transplant. About one week prior to planting, start taking your seedlings outdoors to get them use to (or ‘hardened’) being out.
Cold Frames and greenhouses are other options for getting your garden off to an early start. A cold frame is a very simple, inexpensive structure (like a mini-greenhouse ) that provides a more favorable environment for outside growing before the last frost.
Cold frames do not use an outside heating source, just the sun. If you nothing but time, you can make your own seed starting solar cold frame.
Greenhouses come in all shapes and sizes. They can be expensive or not, depending on what you desire. Before purchasing a greenhouse give a good amount of thought to what your needs are.
Whether you choose to start seeds indoors, using cold frames or greenhouses, here is a helpful timeline for growing plants from seeds.
Want more specific instructions on how to start seeds? Check out this post.