Nutrition Articles

A Gardener's Guide to Starting Seeds Indoors

Get a Jump on the Gardening Season!

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You can sow (plant) the seeds of most fruit and vegetable plants directly into your garden. It's the most affordable, convenient path to a bounty of fresh, delicious produce from your own backyard. So why would anyone want to buy costly seedlings (starter plants) from a nursery or sow seeds indoors instead of outdoors?

Put simply, you cannot put every plant or seed directly into the soil because the growing period of some plants is longer than the growing season of your hardiness zone. Therefore, some plants need to be grown indoors (or at a nursery) before you can transplant them into the garden. Starting your own seeds indoors is more economical and will give you a head-start on the growing season. Plus, you'll be able to experiment with a wider variety of plant species than the common varieties of seedlings available at your local nursery.

You should always consult the back of your seed packets for exact planting instructions, but here are some examples of plants that typically need a head start indoors (including the number of weeks prior to your zone's last anticipated frost date that you should start the seeds indoors):
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About The Author

Jenny Sigler Jenny Sigler
Jenny is a stay-at-home mom to her young children, Augustine and Olive. An avid gardener and baker, she enjoys writing about health and childcare topics to empower people to make healthy choices. See all of Jenny's articles.

Member Comments

  • I invested in a special grow light system a couple of years ago, and want to upgrade next Winter. It is more economical, and a new fun skill to learn. - 5/29/2015 10:23:04 AM
    My garden has started looking pretty lush this year. Last year it was quite sparse with a few Zucchini taking over the whole plot. The experience I gained however gave me the skills to plant the right plants this year and produce a good yield. Or it could be that I just got better seeds this year.

    -seed-mixes.html - 1/6/2015 6:32:13 PM
  • Appreciate the tips! I was shocked to open my seed packets recently and find so few seeds. One only had three seeds in it!! I went back to the store and the rest of similar packets only had six. Planted same flowers last year from one packet. Arrgh!! Like so many other things.. price is up and packages are smaller. Makes careful starting even more important. - 4/21/2014 8:48:14 AM
  • I love my garden. Can't wait for the summer to come. It look so pretty when they coming up. But this year I want be able to have a garden because I am having a right shoulder replacement. - 1/11/2014 10:19:26 AM
  • I am new to SparkPeople and am in the process of learning to navagate the website. I am really excited that I found this article. I am also a new retiree and am looking for activities to fill my day. I'm into this one!!!

    Thanks - 2/12/2013 2:32:00 PM
  • Regarding the tickleme plant. I have one in my classroom. My student is the asian girl sitting on the front steps in the commercial! I'm soooo proud of her. At the beginning of the school year she brought me the plant starter kit. It's so cool! - 4/26/2011 9:56:30 AM
  • DONNA558
    I love the TickleMe Plant. It is the only houseplant that MOVES when you Tickle It. This is no joke. The leaves fold up and even the branches fall down when Tickled? If you have kids or Grandkids it's a must product. SEE VIDEO! You may not believe your eyes but it is real.
    http://www.tick - 4/8/2011 8:55:14 AM
  • My father always planted by the OLD FARMER'S ALMANAC and had great gardens. - 4/8/2009 9:27:50 PM

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