Now is the time to get a head start on growing veggies and perennials by starting seeds indoors. I have gotten serious about starting seeds for the first time – maybe watching things grow has become my way of coping with not being as active!
Make sure to look for seed brands and varieties that are designed to grow in your area. Here in the Maritime Northwest I use Territorial Seeds and have also taken an interest in heirlooms available through Seed Savers Exchange though I double check the variety’s original growing conditions.
To get started, set up an adjustable height PLANT LIGHTS over pots or seed trays filled with a well-draining seed starting mix.
The light should be about two inches from the plant!! Do yourself a favor and get a fixture with a 2ft long bulb, which just happens to be the exact size of the hand black trays to start seeds in! I installed my lights under a cabinet in my laundry room, and I lift the trays of seedlings closer to the lights with bricks. Below is the light stand I would have bought if I didn’t use under the counter method:
Make sure to keep the seedlings moist, but not soggy. Setting the pots or seed trays on specially designed heating mat will keep the soil at the optimal germinating temperature of 60 °- 72 °F. Since mine were growing in a small heated laundry room, I added a heat bulb to another nearby fixture just to provide some more warmth; this seemed to work – the room stayed warmer than the rest of the house and everything sprouted!
When it is time to put them outdoors, do it gradually. Put the pots outside in a protected area during the day and bring them back inside at night for several days to get the plants used to the temperature change before you put them in the ground.
In the Seattle area, seeds to plant indoors in February to put outside in the spring include:
And of course, spend these rainy cold evenings studying!