Starting seeds indoors can be challenging, but many producers are encouraged by the prospect of being able to grow plants regardless of the weather. Now, Ward Upham, a horticulture expert with K-State Research and Extension, is sharing his tips for how to get vegetables and flowers started this January.
“January is often a cold and dreary month for many gardeners,” says Upham. “But planning for and starting vegetables and flower transplants from seed can make this a much more interesting time of year.”
One of Upham’s key recommendations is to start with quality seed. He also proposes talking to neighbors, friends, and the local garden center to see what has worked well for them in the past around this time of year. Similarly, you’ll want to purchase your seeds from a reputable source. Upham says growers should not be afraid to explore beyond garden centers and look toward seed catalogs.
“If choosing seeds from a business that does not specialize in plants, pay special attention to the package date to make sure the seed was packaged for the current year,” Upham said. “Though most seed remains viable for about three years, germination decreases as seed ages.”
Next, producers should know the target date for transplanting their plants outdoors and the number of weeks they need to grow them indoors. Finally, Upham says producers should steer clear of garden soil, as it may contain disease organisms. Soil specifically made for seed germination should be used.
Plants grown indoors should also be exposed to the outdoors before they are moved so they become hardened to the sun and wind. For more information, contact the local K-State Research and Extension Office.