Starting seeds indoors

venusruizFebruary 18, 2008


I am new to the forum and to gardening. We bought our house in College Park in December 05. Other than maintening the existing garden (peonias, hostas and azaleas) we didn't do anything else in 2006. In 2007 i gave it a try to some herbs i bought at behnkes, and in the fall i planted some 130's bulbs, mainly daffodils and crocuses. This year I want to start some tomatoes, peppers and beans from seed. I bought the heating pads, trays and lights but would like some ideas of when to start them. I thought i could put them out after the last frost day (end of march) but after reading the comments in the forum im all confused. Should i wait sowing them until the end of March and then bring them outside at the end of April? I really would welcome any advise.

Thanks so much.

Maria V.

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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

It's warmer in College Park than where I live in Westminster, but I think end of March is way too early. Tomatoes and peppers (I don't grow beans, not sure about them) especially love heat, and they will just sulk if you put them out too early. A frost will kill them totally. I would wait until at least April 15, preferably May 1 to put them out, which means starting them about 6 weeks before. They do tend to germinate really fast under lights, often many days earlier than the seed package says.

Be sure to keep the tops of the plants really close to the light (if it's a fluorescent light), like 1 to 2" below the bulb.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 7:32AM
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manure_queen(md 7)

Peppers are happier after the soil warms up, usually mid-may

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 7:41AM
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I have a garden plot in Rock Creek (DC) and most gardeners wait until the beginning of May to plant tomatoes & peppers-- the last frost date is usually long past, but the soils are just getting warm enough. So, to time it, I usually start my seeds in early March-- my tomatoes are usually transplanted at least once indoors to get them good sized. (and a hint: for tomatoes, bury the stem to a set of leaves, not necessarily the lowest--new roots will form off the buried stem, giving you a stronger plant). Starting seeds indoors is pretty rewarding! Enjoy!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 9:36AM
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Thank you so much for your responses. I guess the warm weather is playing tricks on me, I cant wait to get my hands dirty! What about lettuce? Can it go out a bit earlier?


    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 6:38PM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

For those itchy fingers, plant peas - sugar snaps, snow peas and regular green peas. They do well in cool weather and cool soil and can be planted outside directly without starting indoors (but wait until it's a LITTLE warmer!).

I think lettuce does OK in cool temps, too, but have never grown it myself.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 1:21PM
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Lettuce definitely likes cool temps, in fact I have never been able to get it to grow well in warm weather. It just bolts and goes to seed almost immediately, even the "slow bolting" varieties I've bought. So if you're anxious to get started (like me), lettuce is another option for you!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 6:01PM
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A lot of people, myself included, start plants around now, transplant to bigger pots in April and take the plants outdoors during the day and indoors at night once the days become warm. The soil in pots warms up fast, and your plants will be big and ready to roll by May 1.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 9:35PM
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Thank you everyone for your advice. Yesterday I started my seeds inside using heat mats. I planted tomatoes, peppers (sweet and hot), basil, cilantro and parsley. Wish me luck!


    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 5:18PM
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While we're on the subject of starting seeds indoors, I started mine about 2 weeks ago and all of the little seedling pots now have a fine, fuzzy grey mold on the surface of them. The seedlings don't seem to mind so far, but obviously something's not right. This happened to me last year too, and the plants lived to tell the tale, but how do I get rid of this and where did it come from?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 12:56PM
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