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Starting Seeds Indoors

Are you ready to start gardening again, but keep waiting for the snow to melt? Get your green thumb going and save some money by starting your seeds indoors this year. Starting seeds is less expensive than purchasing plants, and you are in control from the start to ensure they grow healthy and strong. Here's how to get your garden going inside:

Find a pot - Any small container will work, as long as it can hold two to three inches of soil. It's best to use small, individual containers, because roots from different plants can tangle with each other as they grow, causing problems later on. Make sure the containers are sanitized and able to drain water.

Get your soil - Seeds can't survive in regular garden soil. They need a lighter mix, so roots can grow. You can find seed starter mix at your local garden store.

Plant the seeds - The timing of your planting depends on the type of seeds you have. Cucumbers only need two weeks before the last frost of the season, but onions and chives could take up to 14 weeks to germinate. Decide the right time for your plant types and area.

When it's time to plant, place two to three seeds in each container. It's important to keep them warm as they grow. You can buy a warming mat or just place them on a heat source such as a radiator or refrigerator. Windowsills generally won't work, because they are warm during the day, but cold at night. Water your seeds daily and make sure the soil stays moist. Spray bottles are great for this.

When you see the plants peaking up from the soil, place them directly under a light. They need about 12 or more hours of light daily.

Transition - When your seedlings are a few inches tall, you can move them into bigger pots to allow the roots to grow bigger and stronger. You can use regular garden soil at this point. As the weather begins to warm, place the pots outside for a few hours every day. Increase the time spent outside as the weather improves, until it's time to plant them in the ground.

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