Spring Garden Prep: Tips for Starting Seeds Indoors

woman planting seeds

As we enter the final few weeks of winter, with longer days and warmer temperatures just around the corner, your thoughts may have begun turning to the garden.

Since March is generally still cold, there are a few activities we can do inside to get a jump on the warmer days to come.

Whether you’re envisioning a lush vegetable patch, aromatic herb garden, or an abundance of colourful blooms, now is a great time to start your veggie, herb, or flower seeds.

Here are a few tips from Down the Garden Path: A Step-By-Step Guide to Your Ontario Garden to get you started.

  • Double-check the seed package for the time frame based on your average last frost date.

    canna bulbs in soil
    Canna bulbs
  • Now can be a good time to start popular vegetables like peppers, onions, and some tomato varieties with more than 70 to 80 days to maturity on the seed package.
  • Earlier is not necessarily better. It can be very hard to keep maturing, leggy “baby plants” alive until after the last frost.
  • A small investment in grow lights will lead to better success than a bright window.
  • With shorter days and the position of the sun during the cooler months, daylight alone will not provide enough light, seedlings will be leggy and weak when reaching for the sun.
  • Grow lights allow for more direct light and with a timer, allowing for longer periods of light. 16 – 18 hours of light is recommended followed by 6 hours with the lights off.
  • Annual and perennial seeds, such as nasturtiums, pelargoniums, zinnias, cosmos, echinacea, Shasta daisies, etc., can be started inside in a south or west window, or even better, under grow lights.
  • Plants from online sources can be ordered and shipped to you when conditions are right for planting.
  • Summer bulbs, like canna lilies and dahlias, can be potted up and started in a warm bright location to allow for earlier blooming when placed outdoors.
  • Check local garden centres for hellebores. Hellebores are partial-to-full shade perennials with evergreen foliage, which bloom anywhere from January to mid-March in the garden.

Get ready for spring! Listen to the Down the Garden Path Podcast

We’ve covered seed starting quite a few times on the podcast. Here are a few episodes you may enjoy:

Seed Starting 101

Growing Herbs

Growing Indoors

Starting Seeds Indoors

Starting and Saving Seeds

A new season of Down The Garden Path Podcast starts next week! If you’re eager to get working on your garden, you can check out past episodes here, or on YouTube.

Want to learn more about what to do for and in your garden month to month?

Gear up for spring with Down the Garden Path: A Step-By-Step Guide to Your Ontario Garden, an easy-to-follow guide designed to help homeowners create and maintain low-maintenance thriving gardens.


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