As a beginner gardener, it is undoubtedly challenging to identify the best vegetable seeds to grow indoors. Luckily, there is a broad spectrum of vegetable seeds you can choose to grow indoors.
Some of the most popular vegetable seeds grown indoors are tomatoes and peppers. Gardening experts often advise growing vegetable seeds during spring.
Generally, growing vegetables from seeds are simpler and more affordable than growing from transplants. In this article, we look at a step-by-step process of starting vegetable seeds indoors.
Procedure of starting vegetable seed indoors
Step 1: Buy seeds from a reliable manufacturer
The first thing to do if you are planning to start vegetable seeds indoors is to buy your seeds from a reputable manufacturer. Remember, you need to purchase high-quality seeds to obtain a plentiful harvest.
Always conduct thorough research on the best seed manufacturers available around your area. From there, compare quotes and settle for the best manufacturer who caters to your requirements.
Step 2: Pot with seed-starting mix
Gardening professionals always advise growing vegetable seeds indoors using a seed starting mix. Seed starting mix is of higher quality than garden soil. It has excellent moisture retention and drainage properties.
Consequently, they promote the healthy and strong growth of plants. Seed-starting mix also encourages quick germination of seeds. You can purchase seed starting mix from your local garden store.
Step 3: Make sure your planting pot has a good drainage system
Always find the right planting pot or container to grow your vegetables like tomatoes. Ensure that your planting container is large enough to accommodate all your plants. Also, create a drainage system in your planting pots.
Do this by creating tiny holes at the bottom of your container. Having a good drainage system prevents your soil from becoming soggy. Too much water can destroy your plants.
Step 4: Use the right depth to plant your seeds
Once you have all your planting equipment, start sowing your seeds. Most seed packets have the sowing instructions. So, always take time to read and understand all the planting instructions as indicated by the manufacturer.
But generally, you need to sow the seed three times deeper than the width of the seed. Even so, this depends on the type of vegetable seeds you wish to grow. For instance, small seeds require you to sprinkle them on the soil.
On the other hand, you need to sow large seeds a few inches deep into the soil. Avoid sowing the seeds very deep into the soil. Otherwise, your seeds won’t make it to the surface. Also, it is always advisable to plant extra seeds since not all of them will be able to sprout.
Step 5: Expose the containers to sunlight
After sowing the vegetable seeds, place the planting pots under sunlight. Most plants need sunlight and moisture to grow. So, consider placing your containers next to your windows or on your porch.
Ensure you know the conditions necessary for plant growth. Expose your plants to sunlight for at least six to eight hours a day. Suppose you are growing your plants during winter; you can use artificial lighting.
Fluorescent lights are always a good option. Avoid exposing the plants to extremely high temperatures. Find a cool place in your room that receives sufficient sunlight.
Step 6: Fertilize your vegetable seeds
Other than exposing your vegetable seeds to sunlight, it would be best if you fertilized them. Always use the right fertilizer with the necessary nutrients needed for plant growth. Consider using organic fertilizers; they are less toxic to your plants.
This is because they contain 100% natural ingredients. Regardless of the fertilizer you use, ensure you follow all the manufacturer’s usage guidelines. Otherwise, you might end up damaging your plant.
Step 7: Thinning
As a gardener, it is important to thin your seeds. Once your seeds sprout, start the thinning process. Thinning helps you grow healthy and strong plants. After thinning the seeds, keep monitoring your indoor plants. Water them frequently depending on their requirements. Nonetheless, be careful not to overwater your plants.
Starting Seeds Indoors vs. Outdoors – Which is better?
There are many advantages of starting seeds indoors over growing seeds outdoors. Some of these benefits include:
One of the main advantages of growing seeds indoors is that you can plant them at any time of the year. Indoor plants are rarely affected by harsh climatic conditions. So, you can grow plants indoors like using indoor grow kits, even during winter.
All you need to do is to ensure you monitor them frequently by watering them and applying the right fertilizer. On the flip side, you cannot grow plants outdoors when it’s freezing outside.
Ultimately, growing plants indoors gives you the unique privilege of obtaining an abundant harvest throughout the entire year.
Indoor plants also help you improve the aesthetics of your indoor space. Some plants produce beautiful flowers that add a whole new charm to your room. In fact, some homeowners grow indoor plants with the main purpose of making their homes more attractive.
Which Seeds Should You Start Indoors?
Although there are many benefits of starting seeds indoors, certain seeds cannot grow in indoor spaces. Therefore, before you think of growing a plant indoors, it is important to identify the requirements of the vegetable.
- Plants that tend to grow slowly are best grown indoors. Some of these plants include celery, eggplant, and peppers. Other plants that thrive indoors are tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels.
- Crops that are sensitive to temperature fluctuations are best grown indoors. Some of them include peppers and tomatoes. Growing these crops indoors helps you monitor them and keep them safe from extremely high and low temperatures.
- If you are growing plants that don’t transplant well, it would be best to start them outside. Such plants are more susceptible to damage during transplanting. Thus, it is always advisable to plant them directly in your garden from the start. Good examples of such plants include squash, cucumbers, and watermelons. Nonetheless, you should identify the best time to grow these plants. Gardening experts advise growing them during spring since most of them cannot survive during winter. Also, you cannot transplant beets and carrots. This is because their roots don’t thrive under any form of disturbance.
- Fast-growing plants grow best when planted outdoors. There is usually no need to grow these plants in your container since they’ll mature within no time.
Common mistakes of growing plants indoors
If you happen to grow your plants indoors, ensure you avoid the following mistakes.
Not Supplying Enough Light: When growing plants indoors, ensure you expose them to sunlight. Some plants thrive under direct sunlight, while some under indirect sunlight. Place your planting pot or container next to your window or porch area.
A good percentage of plants need to receive sunlight for at least six to eight hours to grow healthy. If your area does not experience sunlight frequently, you can use fluorescent lighting.
Underwatering and overwatering: One of the most common mistakes gardeners make is to overwater their plants. Plants thrive when they receive sufficient moisture.
But you have to be careful not to overwater your plant. Before watering your plant, insert your fingers into the soil to check whether the soil is damp or dry. If the soil is damp, leave the soil to dry before you water again.
Additionally, do not leave your plants for too long without water. Doing this dehydrates and kills your plants. On average, you should water your plants at least once or twice a week. Ensure you understand your plants’ requirements before watering.
Planting seeds deep into the soil: You need to master the correct sowing techniques for your plants to thrive. You need to sow your seeds a few inches into the soil. But this depends on the type of seeds.
Ideally, small seeds require you to sprinkle them across the soil. Before you start sowing, read and understand all the manufacturer’s instructions indicated on the seed packet.
Avoid sowing your seeds very deep into the soil. This is because they will require a lot of energy to come up the ground. If your seeds need sunlight to sprout, it would be best to cover them lightly with soil.
Failure to keep seeds warm: Seeds need to stay warm so that they can germinate. So, avoid keeping them too cool. One of the best places to keep your seeds is on top of the refrigerator.
Here, they are able to experience a temperature of approximately 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a very cold area, consider using seed warming mats.
Failure to label your seeds: A majority of gardeners usually forget to label their seeds. Labeling your seeds helps you know what exactly you are growing. Label each container or pot with the type of plants inside. Also, write the date the seed was sown on the label.
Begin you indoor farm now
Starting vegetable seeds indoors requires you to master several planting techniques. You have to have the right equipment and choose the right plant type to grow. Remember, not all plants grow well indoors.
Some of the best plants you can grow indoors include tomatoes, cabbage, and lettuce. Regardless of the plant you choose to grow, ensure they receive enough moisture and sunlight.