As soon as April arrives it can be challenging to find the patience to wait for the May 24th weekend to get our hands dirty – we want to start planting now! These days, with the increasing changes in weather patterns, it may be more tempting than ever to start your garden early; however, it’s worth assuming that the weather will likely continue to be very unpredictable at this time of year.
Why not err on the side of caution and get started indoors to help stave off that craving for green thumbs? You’ll still get to enjoy the sensation of the soil running through your fingers and you won’t have to worry about a sudden frost destroying all your hard work.
Here in Cottage Country some of the most popular seeds to start indoors are tomato, lettuce, onion and pepper (can you taste that home-grown salad yet?) all of which can be started in seed trays or flats – don’t forget to label them! Ideally, your seed trays should be placed in a draft-free area where the room temperature is around 15C or 16C (about 60F) and away from household traffic and pets.
Of course, they will need lots of light – a sunny, south-facing window would be the ideal spot to let them grow as long as the temperature in the room remains fairly constant. If you don’t have enough room by a window you may need to buy some fluorescent lights. Seedlings need warm soil to develop strong roots.
For those who are still a little “green” at gardening, try tomatoes to start as they are fairly easy to get going. Their seeds will germinate and grow quickly and you can sow them indoors about six weeks before the average last frost date. Other good choices for beginners are Nasturtium, Coleus, Zinnia, and Basil.
Check your seed packets before you begin so you can estimate the best time to start each plant – they will all have unique requirements and it helps to do some research and consult with the experts before you begin. Happy planting!
by Moira Gale