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Starting Seeds Outdoors Or Indoors

March 29, 2021
Written by Aaron

Starting seeds is a strangely exciting and rewarding hobby—and one of the few hobbies that actually saves you money instead of costing you more! A packet of fifty seeds can cost the same as one single starter plant. If you’re happy to tend to your seedlings for a couple of months longer than the rest of your garden, then it’s well worth the effort. And, you’ve got to admit, plants are kinda cute when they’re little. 

If you want to learn how to start seeds, you might be a bit unsure whether to start them indoors or outdoors. Both seem like viable options, right? Well, the truth is that they can both be effective, but only if done correctly. A few missteps, and you might end up with an unsuccessful batch of seedlings.

To put you on the right track, we put together this list of common FAQs for starting vegetable garden seeds. 

watering seedlings outside

Is It Better to Start Seeds Indoors or Outdoors?

It depends on the plant. Some take a long time to mature, so if you want to enjoy them sooner in the season, it’s worth starting your seeds indoors. This way, you don’t have to wait for the weather to warm up to start growing. However, some plants don’t adjust well to being transplanted, so starting the seeds outdoors is necessary. When in doubt, do a Google search to see if your plant is better suited to starting outdoors or indoors.

 

What Supplies Do You Need to Start Seeds Indoors?

Maintaining consistent temperature, light, and humidity for your seedlings can be tricky indoors, but there are lots of supplies you can use to help you pull it off. It might seem like a lot at first, but it’s a one-time purchase that will help you start seeds indoors for years to come. We recommend trying some of these products to help you with seed starting:

  • Plastic domes to trap humidity
  • Seed starting mix 
  • An LED grow light with a timer setting
  • Biodegradable seedling cups
  • A mini-greenhouse, which comes with the humidity dome and grow light all built-in.
     

Remember, you need a lot of space to accommodate all the little seedlings you’re starting. If you don’t have enough space by a sunny window, a grow light or two will help you a lot! 

SEED CELL IN HAND

How Many Seeds Do I Plant in Each Pot?

It’s recommended that you put 2–3 seeds in each pot or seed starting cell. Some seeds just won’t germinate—that’s just the luck of the draw. But if you have a couple of seeds in each cup, the chances of success are higher! If more than one seed sprouts in a cup, you’ll need to thin out the smaller, weaker ones and leave the strongest one. They won’t be able to grow properly when they’re so close together. 

How Do You Acclimate Seedlings to the Outdoors?

Planting a seedling directly outdoors after it’s been inside for several weeks won’t end well. The shock of the temperature change will likely kill them. To ease them into the transition, it’s a good idea to put your seedlings outside for a little bit longer each day in a process called “hardening off.” Follow this schedule to harden off your seeds:

  • Day 1–2: Full shade for two hours
  • Day 3–4: Dappled shade for three hours
  • Days 5–6: Full sun for two hours.
  • Days 7–9: Full sun for three to four hours.
  • Days 10–14: Full sun for five to six hours.
  • Days 14–21: Full sun for 8 hours per day. Leave them out overnight if the temperature isn’t expected to dip below 10°C.

This is a three-week process, so follow the schedule carefully! Mark these times down on your calendar so you can follow them.

SOWING SEEDS OUTDOORS

When Should I Start Planting Seeds Outside?

Seeds are safe to plant outside once the danger of frost has passed. Here in Simcoe, our typical last frost date is usually in the last week in April. If you plan to plant your seeds in the first week of May, you should be in the clear!

 

Can You Plant Tomato Seeds Outside?

Tomato seedlings are a bit too delicate to grow outside, so we recommend starting those seeds indoors. Tomato seedlings are susceptible to a bacterial disease called “damping off,” which can quickly kill them in their early growth stages. The temperature-controlled environment and better pest protection indoors will make it easier for your tomatoes to grow strong enough for smooth transplanting.

 

What Are The Best Seeds to Start Indoors?

Starting seeds indoors always gets us so excited for spring! Try starting some of these vegetables indoors in early April, so they’re ready to plant in May:

  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Onion
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Peppers

carrots from garden

Some seeds can be started indoors but need to be very carefully transplanted because they have delicate roots. Starting these seeds outdoors or indoors is possible as long as the temperature is comfortable. These plants include:

  • Cucumber
  • Melon
  • Peas
  • Squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Zucchini
  • Celery
  • Amaranth

     

What Are the Best Seeds to Plant Outdoors?

 

Some plants are best suited to planting outdoors—especially root vegetables! Some are also just suited to sprouting in colder spring soil. Here are some plants you can start seeding outside at home this spring:

  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Beets
  • Potatoes
  • Turnips
  • Radicchio
  • Spinach
  • Corn

If you need any seed starting supplies in Simcoe, Eising Garden Centre has got you covered! We’ve got plenty of high-quality equipment that will last for years and years, plus plenty of exciting new seeds for 2021. Visit us soon, and we’ll be happy to help you get started!

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