Spring is just around the corner and if you are a gardener in the Maritimes you may be itching to get started on your garden. With the last frost still several weeks, it can be a challenge to know where to start. One solution is to start your seeds indoors in April. This allows you to get a jumpstart on the growing season and can help ensure a more successful harvest.
Most vegetables need to be started 6-8 weeks before outdoor planting dates.
The following types of vegetables to start Early-Mid April:
Tomatoes, peppers and the brassica family which includes broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage.Seeds take 5-12 days to germinate. Starting these seeds in cell trays or soil pucks helps the plants germinate and grow a good root system.
Keep seeds evenly moist and use a humidity dome to create a moist and
warm environment for successful germination.
A sunny south-facing window or grow lights will give the plants adequate light to grow.
When the plants have 3 sets of leaves and good root growth, transplant them to 4” pots which help them grow sturdy and strong before they get planted out in the garden when soil and air temperatures are suitable to the variety.
If cool nights are in the forecast after planting tomatoes and pepper in the garden,
protect the plants with row cover.
Why not start herbs, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard and kale indoors now also? Plant the seeds directly in small pots and place them on a sunny south-facing window sill. They can be transplanted out to the garden when the risk of frost is passed. Try growing year-round on your window sill.
Late April is the best time to start the following:
Melons, cucumbers, squash and pumpkins. These plants need warm soil and air temperatures to ensure good growth. Seeds take 5-7 days to germinate. They can be started in 4” pots and need 6-8 weeks of growth before planting the garden. Following package instructions for seed starting is key. With proper planning and a little bit of patience not starting your seeds too early will ensure fresh, homegrown vegetation in no time.