Start your garden now inside!

By  | 

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- So many people are feeling cooped up these days and are itching to get outside. However, there is one thing you can start indoors right now to bring on spring...your garden!

Courtesy: MGN Online

Amie Winters and her daughter Kennedy dug into a seed starter pack with some helpful tips from the Eau Claire Area Master Gardeners.

The group says this week you're safe to start tomatoes, broccoli, various salad greens and peppers. Then around Memorial Day you can plant things like squash, corn, onions, potatoes and carrots directly into the garden.

Ten tips to remember as you start planting:

Have a plan of what you want to grow. Consider the size of land you have, how much you want or need

Always check your seed packet for specific directions (e.g. to sow direct or into a seed raiser first, most suitable season, depth to sow, soil temperature, spacing, whether the seed needs light/darkness or pre-soaking).

Gather all your supplies: Containers, trays, seed starting mix or potting soil, covers

Spread your seed raising mix firmly into your container. Tap down to remove air pockets.

Make sure your seeds have good contact with the soil as they need moisture to germinate. Small seeds or those that need light can just lie on top of the seed raising mix. As a general rule for larger seeds, sieve extra seed raising mix evenly over the seed to a depth of twice the seed diameter and moisten well.

Put your seed container in a protected warm position such as on top of a hot water heater or use a heat mat underneath to increase the soil temperature. Keep your seeds in a humid environment until they germinate. e.g. add a cloche; close the lid on your mini greenhouse; or cover with a plastic bag or film. (Remove this once the seeds have sprouted).

Make sure there's consistent moisture once the seeds are in their 'bed' (too dry = no germination; too wet = seed can rot/die; just right = you'll be the proud parent of new babies)! Check daily - Use a spray bottle to finely mist over the seeds or add your container/tray to a shallow water bath with warm water so moisture can wick up into the seed raising mix without disturbing your seeds. Remove your container when the mix feels moist. TIP: A moisture meter is a very helpful tool.

Label your seeds and be patient. Not all babies are born on time! Check the seed packet for a guideline to the number of days to germination so you have a 'due date'.

Feed your seedlings if there is not fertilizer in your planting mix. Once the seed baby is 'born', it will quickly grow its first 2 true leaves. At this point your plant baby will have used up all the nutrients inside the seed and will be totally reliant on YOU for food to grow. A weekly liquid feed of a weak solution of seaweed (kelp) or worm juice (liquid from a worm farm) is ideal to get your little one thriving.

Harden off your seedlings. Before you plant place your seedling outside in ever increasing times for 1 - 2 weeks so they get used to wind and sun.