Starting Garden Seeds Indoors

Starting Garden Seeds Indoors

Give your vegetable garden a head start this year by starting your seeds indoors. Learn this and more early spring gardening (and houseplant) tips from The Old Farmer's Almanac Web site, Almanac.com. Words of advice: When dandelions bloom late, expect a dry summer. For more seasonal advice, recipes, and craft ideas, go directly to www.almanac.com/season. For spring fun and folklore, go to www.almanac.com/holidays/spring/index.html.
* For best results, buy compressed peat pellets, which come filled with a sterile planting medium and miraculously transform into pots when they are soaked in water.
* Set them in plastic nursery flats, plant several seeds in each, and water lightly with a spray bottle.
* When seedlings emerge, keep them at about 60 degrees Fahrenheit day and night.
* They'll grow best under cool-white 40-watt fluorescent bulbs set three to six inches above the soil and lit for 15 to 16 hours a day.
* As seedlings grow, raise the lights to keep them about five inches above the leaves.
* Thin to one seedling per pot by snipping unwanted stems with scissors.
* Keep the soil evenly moist.
* About two weeks before you put the plants in the ground, get them ready for outdoor life (a process called "hardening off").
* When it is sunny and calm, set them out in the shade for half a day.
* Gradually expose them to longer periods of more sun.
* After a week, they should be able to stay outside in the sun all day.
* Bring them indoors during high winds or heavy rains, and watch carefully to avoid a surprise frost.

The preceding excerpt is from The Old Farmer's Almanac Web site, Almanac.com. The Old Farmer's Almanac is on sale wherever books and magazines are sold.