If you are an experienced gardener, you know that there are some seeds you need to start indoors NOW in order for them to be ready to be planted. Don’t worry too much if you didn’t get those March items planted indoors already, you may still have enough time. A majority on this list do not need to be planted until April and there are some you can plant in May. Starting your own seeds indoors can save you money over buying seedlings in the spring. This is also the time when seed companies offer discounts to order from their catalogs, so it pays to know exactly what you plan to plant.
Photo credit: GazetteXtra.com
What do I need to start indoor planting and not break my budget? The most inexpensive way to start your seeds indoors is if you saved seeds from last year’s crops or if a friend volunteered to share them with you. Usually seed saver gardeners save many more seeds than they need and are happy to share some seeds with you. But if you don’t have any free seeds, you can buy inexpensive seed packets. I have seen them at Dollar Tree for 4/$1 or last year they came on sale at Menards for 10/$1.
Next, you need to have seed starting soil mix, which you will have to buy but you could see if a friend is willing to split the cost of a bag if you both will only need half or less. You also need containers, but these could be egg cartons, yogurt containers or many other containers that may have landed in the trash or recycling. And then you need something to create a greenhouse, which can be as simple as using plastic bags or plastic wrap. You can also buy kits that provide you with soil tablets, container and cover, but those are not necessary even though they are convenient. If you do buy one of those kits, know that you can save the container and cover and just buy new tablets the next year. Finally you need sun or some light source. You don’t need to buy grow lights if you have a south facing window that gets good sunlight. I find that my seedlings get plenty of sun from our south facing window and it is not necessary to buy additional lighting.
When do you start planting your seedlings in the garden? – Well, the correct answer is an obviious after the last frost. I know, that is not helpful because we just don’t know when the last frost will be. Most people in MN will plant their gardens during the month of May, but when exactly you plant them during that month is quite variable. It could take some extra planning to protect your plants from potential frost and require knowledge of cool season crops (i.e. spinach thrives with cool evening temps with frost and warm day time temps and are best planted even earlier than May.) Some people choose to wait until after May 15th or Memorial Day to escape that last frost. What do you think? What is your time table for planting?
Other gardening posts I have written that you may be interested in are:
- The No-Stress Guide to Starting a Compost Pile
- Starting Seeds Indoors on a Budget
- Make a Wood Raised Garden Bed
And if you need help figuring out where to plant things, check out these free online garden planners.
Your turn: What are you going to plant this year?