Starting seeds at the right time is crucial to ensure your plants thrive during the growing season. To begin, it is important to start your seed indoors to ensure that your crops get a head start on the growing season.
This also gives them the chance to grow in a stable environment resulting in a better harvest. At J Bird’s Landscaping, your premier source of lawn care in the South Hills, we’ve put together some tips for planting seeds to help you get the most out of the garden this year.
When to Start Seeds Indoors
When it comes to determining whether you should start your seed indoors or outdoors, it depends heavily on your climate and the length of the growing season. In the Pittsburgh area, we have cooler temperatures and a shorter growing season, so it is most effective to start seed indoors to protect the plants from freezing temperatures.
There are many types of seed that should be started indoors, but there are some that should be sown directly in your garden, such as root vegetables. Other crops such as tomatoes and peppers can be started indoors and transplanted successfully. For most crops, you will want to start the seeds indoors roughly 6-8 weeks before the date of the last spring frost to provide the plants plenty of time to grow healthy and big.
When Should You Transplant Your Seedlings?
To determine whether your seedlings are ready for transplant or not, look at their size compared to the size of the starter pot or seed tray. If they are larger than the seed tray or starter pot, they are ready to be transplanted to your garden.
You can begin hardening off the seedling one week prior to the last frost date. The hardening off process is when you begin to acclimate your indoor plants to the outdoor conditions. This can be done in an unheated greenhouse, or you can use buckets, boxes, or crates to keep your pots in and protect them from the wind. You can begin the process by leaving the plants outside for two hours on the first day and then gradually increasing their time outdoors over one or two weeks (7 to 10 days). Be sure to keep the soil moist as well during this period.
Before you prepare to transplant your seedlings, be sure to aerate and loosen your soil, adding fresh soil as needed to make sure your seedlings have a good environment to start in.
Planting Your Seedlings
Each type of plant has its own recommended planting time, so be sure to check resources such as the Farmer’s Almanac to see the best time for the fruit, vegetable, or flower. In most cases, the spring season is a great time to transplant your seedlings. Follow these tips for transplanting:
Try to transplant on an overcast day or early in the morning so the plant can settle before the sun rises.
Be sure to soak the soil around the seedlings after you’ve finished transplanting.
If the season is dry, you can spread mulch over the area to help retain moisture.
Fertilize the area to promote strong root development using two tablespoons of 15-30-15 starter fertilizer into a gallon of water, providing one cup of the mixture to each seedling for a few days.
Plan your transplant around the forecast for spring frosts and have a plan to protect your plants.
Need Help Getting Your Landscape Ready for Spring? Call J Bird’s Landscaping!
At J Bird’s Landscaping, we can help you prepare your lawn and landscape for the spring season and provide you with a place to start your garden. As your number one choice for landscaping in the South Hills, J Bird’s Landscape will et your landscape looking its best!