Starting seeds is one great way to take the first steps into spring, and we wanted to offer some inspiration along

those lines: IMG_7489

But in case you’re ogling this picture, thinking that this is exactly what you want your seed-starting setup to look like…please make sure you think that thought all the way through. This example is suited for larger-than-homescale seed-starting for generating enough starts for a school fundraiser, in fact. Your array may very well be a little more modest: maybe just a few light fixtures that you can watch out for very well. Whatever the size of your operation, if you keep the following in mind, you should be able to grow your own local, organic seeds to healthy transplant size.

First, some seeds aren’t well-suited for starting inside: if possible, peas, beans, corn, root vegetables (radishes, beets, turnips, carrots, etc.), and squash should be planted directly into the soil they’ll grow in as soon as it’s warm enough for them. Other veggies are likely to yield in our climate only with the head start that indoor seed-starting provides: peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant, for instance. And some plants could go either way, such as salad greens, chard, and many members of the Brassica family; we tend to suggest hedging your bets by direct-sowing some of these seeds and starting others inside.

Second, for seeds you do decide to start indoors, it’s a good idea to sow more than you’ll need in each planting area (cell, pot, etc.), like we did in the picture to the left. You will see when you go to buy starts at the store that nurseries do this, too, so that there’s something in each cell they sell. Whether you grew or bought it, make sure to thin to 1 plant/cell before the plants stress each other at the very least before up-potting or transplanting.

There are a few more nuances to seed-starting, so we heartily recommend reading up on it before you get underway. And if this is not sounding up your alley, no worries: while many people start their spring gardens indoors, if it doesn’t fit your needs, you can take your own first steps in a different way.