This week I started some seeds of romaine inside in the house. The main reason to start seeds indoors is to give them a jump on growing outside. In spring the weather is cool and the seeds often have trouble germinating. Also, if you plant certain seeds, like a tomato in the ground directly you run the risk the plant will never get mature enough to yeild a tomato.
Seed starting kits are, in my opinion, the best way to go. I like the ones that have a little plastic cover because they create a mini greenhouse. You can also add a seed starting mat under the kit to increase the heat.
Be sure to place the kits in a sunny window. You can make your own mix to plant in or do the easy thing and buy a starting mix.
If you reuse your kit year to year sterilize the containers with hot soapy water. You can even use a bit of bleach, just be sure to rinse them out well.
Start your seeds indoors according to the directions on the back of the packet. Many seeds require 4-6 weeks of lead time before putting them outside. I have found that sees of carrots, peas and beans do not do well being started inside and then moved.
Lettuces, melon, tomatoes, peppers, and other warm weather crops are best started early.
Its a Cold Week Ahead
It’s been a cold spring so far and this is going to continue through mid-April. I see the jet stream continuing to bring cold air in from Canada. Therefore, we have to hold off on some things we would otherwise be doing. The winter month caterpillars, a problem in the Massachusettes area, will be slow to hatch with this cold weather. Do not spray unless you are sure they have hatched. I have still not planted my peas or some of my other cold weather crops. With the daytime highs in the 40s it will be hard for much to germinate. If you have a cold frame or other covers for the seeds you can plant as they help mitigate the cold. Continue to clean up the lawn and perennial beds. Cut back your perennials.
You can prune summer blooming shrubs now. I cut back my rose-of-sharon hard this time of year. It will produce great blooms in August.