Many seeds can be planted indoors and outside. If you opt for starting your seeds indoors, you simply transplant them into your garden later after what is called hardening them off. This is just allowing them to get used to the outdoor temperature by moving them outside during the day and bringing back indoors at night. If on the other hand, you choose to sow your seeds directly outside, this negates the need for hardening them off as they are already in their final position. A serious vegetable grower is likely to use a combination of direct outdoor sowing and indoor sowing. There are a number of points that you should consider before deciding where to start your seeds:
- Sowing seeds indoors allows you to get a head start on the growing season. Sowing seeds indoors at the right time can ensure that you have strong seedlings that are ready to be planted outside at the perfect time. This is perfect if you have a short growing season.
- Plants that do not like having their roots disturbed are not the plants that you should be starting indoors. Plants that tolerate root disturbance and therefore allow you to get a head start include Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Eggplant, Leeks, Onions, Parsley, Peppers, and Tomatoes.
- Some seeds are difficult to germinate and they require ideal temperature, moisture and fertility. When starting seeds indoors you are creating these ideal conditions for your seeds to germinate.
- If you are planning on sowing vegetables, you need to be sure that you sow plants that cannot tolerate root disturbance directly into their final position. These include root crops such as Carrots, Beets, Turnips and Parsnips. These are all cold tolerant vegetables and can be sown directly into the growing bed. Vegetables such as Corn, Beans, and Peas are also rather fussy regarding transplanting and grow better when you sow them directly into their final growing bed.
How to Transplant Indoor Sown Seedlings
It is imperative that you do not just take your strong seedlings that you have nurtured indoors and transplant them straight out doors. They require a week or so of hardening off; increasing your seedlings tolerance to the outdoor conditions. This is also true for plants that you have purchased from a nursery and have been kept in a greenhouse. Spend a week moving them outside in a morning and inside at night. You must also be certain that you do not over harden your plants as some vegetables like Cabbage and Broccoli can bolt (flower too early) if they are left in temperatures lower than 40°F (4°C) for a couple of weeks.
Prior to transplanting your seedlings it is crucial to prepare the soil so it is ideal for the seedlings it is going to home. If you started your seedlings in biodegradable peat pots, be sure to break one side of the pot to allow the roots to easily grow. In addition, ensure that you tear any lip that will be above the ground off as this will draw moisture out of the soil. The day of transplanting should a calm and cloudy day and if it is possible, transplant in the evening as this allows the plants to recover from the shock of transplanting without being sat in direct hot sun.