The winter is a time of rest for farmers, but with spring approaching, there are lots of behind the scenes jobs to be done! Crop planning, ordering seeds, and starting seedlings in a greenhouse, or in a south-facing window, are January, February and March activities! Some people ask “Why do you plant seeds so early inside?”
I'm going to answer this question as well as walk you through a few step by step processes for how to do this in your house for your own garden or raised bed. Today's topic, why plant early?
Many gardeners and farmers plant seeds indoors, in late winter, for 3 reasons:
1.) Some frost sensitive, long season plants need to be indoors where it is warm so that they can be transplanted outdoors when the fear of frost has passed, and still have time to produce fruit by the end of the summer before the fall frost. In Maryland, that day is usually around April 15th.
2.) Certain plants are able to get a head start on the season by being able to harvest crops as early as possible during the season. For example, crops in the Brassica family such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale and kohlrabi are cold tolerant, and therefore can be started indoors, and transplanted outside when the ground has thawed even if there is still a danger of frost early in the spring.
3.) Seeding in a greenhouse and transplanting out into your field or garden can help reduce your seed costs and it also allows for better germination rates when comparing to planting straight into the ground (farmers call that direct seeding).