Just because you’re still sledding and shoveling the sidewalk doesn’t mean it’s too early to prepare your garden for spring. Yes, really! You’ll get a big head start on your yearly harvest by growing seedlings indoors.

Once the gardening itch begins, it’s hard to shake. Good news! You can start preparing your plants while it’s still cold outside! Here’s how:

Start Seeds Indoors

To provide the best-growing conditions for your seeds in the spring, start them indoors. This gives them a controlled environment to sprout while protecting them from the harsh elements outside.

Choose the Right Seeds

When starting in cold weather, it’s important to choose the right type of seeds. Opt for hardy, cold-tolerant plants such as broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce. These crops can withstand lower temperatures and will germinate in cool soil.

Prepare Your Containers

Fill your containers with a high-quality seed-starting mix and moisten them well. This provides the right environment for your seeds to grow. Use peat pots, trays, flats, or other containers. Even egg cartons will work!

Keep Seedlings Warm

Encourage germination by keeping your seeds at the right temperature. Use a heat mat or place your containers on top of a warm appliance like a refrigerator. This creates the proper environment for your seeds and helps to speed up the germination process.

Provide Adequate Light

Once germinated, your seeds will need adequate light to grow. If you’re starting seeds indoors, place them near a sunny windowsill or use grow lights. Be sure to rotate your containers regularly to ensure your plant receives equal amounts of light on all sides. (Hint: If your plant starts leaning toward the light source, it’s time to turn it around.)

Keep Seeds Moist

Seeds need moisture to encourage germination and healthy growth. Water your seeds regularly, and make sure that the soil stays evenly hydrated – but not waterlogged. A humidity dome can also help keep moisture levels consistent.

Transplant Seedlings

Once your healthy and strong seedlings are grown, transplant them into your garden or larger containers. This should be done gradually by exposing them to outdoor conditions for a few hours each day before planting them in the ground. In other words, let them go outside to play. (Just make sure they know to come back in when the streetlights turn on!)

Sowing seeds indoors while it’s still cold outside requires a little extra care and attention, but with the proper preparation, you’ll have a great head start on a successful growing season. For more tips on preparing your garden for spring, check out Planning for Your Planting Zone

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