We gardeners know that seed starting is an extremely satisfying endeavor! Watching your food grow from seed to sprout to snack creates a sense of true connection to your garden.
If you’ve never started seeds before, don’t stress, just start small! Pick a few plants you’d like to try, like tomatoes and peppers. Mid to late March is a good time to start most seeds in Southern Minnesota. Follow our seed starting tips for the best chance of success.
The Basics of Seed Starting
Start with a light, fluffy potting mix labeled for seed starting. Moisten the mix before planting and keep it evenly moist but not soggy.
Sow seeds according to package directions- pay attention to sowing depth, days to germination, and days to harvest. Use a shallow container, seed starting tray, egg cartons, etc. Don’t crowd them! A seed or two per cell is perfect.
Light isn’t necessary for most seeds to germinate, but it is crucial as soon as the seeds sprout. Invest in grow lights or put seed trays in front of the sunniest window you have.
Warmth and humidity speed germination of many crops. Start seeds in a warm area and cover seed trays with a humidity dome until the little plants emerge.
Your Seeds Germinated! Now What?
Carefully move seedlings into larger containers when they have 2 sets of leaves. Handle them by the leaves, not the stem, and be gentle with young roots.
Good air circulation helps strengthen seedlings and decreases the chance of disease. A ceiling fan or a little desk fan positioned a couple feet away from seedlings both work well.
Planting Seedlings in the Garden
Before planting seedlings out into the garden, harden them off by slowly acclimating them to outdoor conditions for about a week . Put plants outside in a shady spot on a nice day for a few hours and add an hour or two of outside time each day, gradually exposing them to more sun until they are in full sun all day. Make sure to check moisture levels daily!
Plant your seedlings in the garden according to package directions. Things like tomatoes and peppers should be planted out after the last frost date. Things like cabbage and lettuce do well in cooler weather, so they can go out earlier.
There’s a bit of a learning curve, but when you get the hang of it, seed starting is simple and rewarding. Enjoy your harvest!
Curious about how to prepare for your veggie garden? Read our quick garden prep guide!