Outsmart the Winter Season with an Indoor Garden

Outsmart the cold weather by starting your seeds indoors to have a luscious, beautiful garden by the summer! For the northeastern areas of the United States, which experience a colder winter than much of the rest of the country, it is smart to start your gardening indoors in order to have the earliest blooms possible. Also, gardening indoors allows anyone, regardless of the size of their home or apartment, to enjoy a bountiful garden of their own. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Seedlings that need to be sown should be started indoors 6 weeks before the last freeze to achieve the earliest bloom.
  • Ask your local florist for the date of your last expected freeze so you can create your own personal gardening calendar.
  • The container matters!  The container you plant your seeds in should be between 2 and 3 inches deep, and include drainage holes on the bottom to help avoid over-watering.
  • Most seeds germinate the best when the soil is about 78°F, but make sure to check the back of the seed packets for specific details and specifications. Once the seeds have germinated, they thrive when soil and air temperatures range from 65-70°F.
  • Proper lighting is important to your garden’s growth. While the seeds are germinating, light is unnecessary. However when they begin to sprout, light becomes crucial for the seedlings’ growth.  Most seedlings require 14-16 hours of sunlight to properly grow and develop. It is suggested that the seedlings do their best when they are placed in a south-facing window or under growth lamps.
  • When watering your seeds, make sure to keep the soil moist but not too soggy or the seeds will rot. One tip is to keep a cover over the seeds until they sprout so the moisture stays trapped.
  • Some plants and vegetables that thrive in an indoor environment include tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, melons, onions, begonias, zinnias, coleus, petunias, and impatiens. There are also many more flowers and vegetables that can be sown indoors – check with your local nursery or garden store for a custom recommendation.