Choosing the Right Seeds to Start Indoors
Selecting the right seeds for indoor starting is crucial for a bountiful garden in Michigan. The goal is to pick varieties that not only endure but also flourish in the state’s distinct growing conditions. Here are some garden plants that are both popular and well-suited for Michigan’s climate:
Look for cold-tolerant varieties like ‘Early Girl’ or ‘Celebrity’. They can get a head start indoors and will be ready to produce fruit earlier in the season.
This cool-season crop does well when started indoors about 6 weeks before the last frost. ‘Calabrese’ and ‘Waltham 29’ are reliable choices.
Another cool-season favorite, ‘Long Island Improved’ is a classic variety that’s perfect for Michigan gardens.
In cooler regions, opt for short-season varieties such as ‘Sugar Baby’ or ‘Early Moonbeam’. Starting indoors gives them enough time to sweeten up by summer.
Spinach, kale, and lettuce can be started indoors to avoid the summer heat. Try ‘Bloomsdale’ spinach or ‘Red Russian’ kale for their hardiness.
Varieties like ‘Bush Champion’ or ‘Marketmore 76’ can benefit from an early start, especially in a state with a shorter growing season.
Pumpkins and Squash
For these vine crops, consider varieties like ‘Small Sugar Pumpkin’ or ‘Early Prolific Straightneck’ squash – great for indoor starts and eager to grow once transplanted outdoors.
Remember, indoor seed starting isn’t just about giving plants a jump on the season; it’s also about nurturing robust seedlings that can withstand Michigan’s variable weather once they’re moved outside. As we gather our supplies in anticipation of planting, let’s keep these plant recommendations in mind to ensure a thriving garden.
Gathering the Necessary Supplies
Jumping into seed starting without the right gear is like trying to bake a cake without a recipe or pan – possible, but not recommended. High-quality seedling supplies are non-negotiable for those top-notch results you’re aiming for. Let’s break down the must-haves:
1. Grow Lights
Sunshine in Michigan can be as unpredictable as a roll of the dice. That’s where grow lights come in, giving your seedlings the consistent, full-spectrum light they crave. Look for ones that mimic natural sunlight and have adjustable heights.
Just getting started? We recommend starting with a basic clamp light like this design by GoingTop. This light is a low overall investment and the installation is not permanent. Once you’ve found your groove with indoor seed starting, you can upgrade to an LED panel light like this design by APLANT.
2. Starter Fertilizer
Think of starter fertilizer as the first hearty breakfast for your seedlings. A balanced blend designed for young plants will support robust root development and set them up for success. We use Espoma’s Bio Tone Seed Starter fertilizer for all of our seedlings, indoor and out!
3. Seed Starting Mix
Skip the garden soil; it’s too heavy and may harbor diseases. Opt for a lightweight, nutrient-rich seed starting mix that encourages good drainage and air circulation. We, again, use the Espoma brand for our seed starting mix! We love Espoma’s Seed Starter Potting Mix because it has the perfect blend of ingredients and has been broken down into a lightweight, fine blend that seeds can easily sprout into.
4. Plant Markers
Don’t rely on memory alone. Use plant markers to keep track of what’s sprouting where – it’ll save you from future head-scratching moments. Invest in waterproof plant stakes like these reusable ones by Outland Plant so you can transfer them out to the garden when you transplant your seedlings!
Armed with these essentials, you’re well on your way to turning those tiny seeds into thriving plants. Remember, quality tools lead to quality plants, so invest in getting the good stuff.