I start my first seeds at the end of January or first week of February. I start onions and some of my flowers including perennial flowers. I also gamble on an early crop of broccoli, cabbage and lettuce.
For the onions, I start them in small pots or flats (recycled yogurt cups here). I plant the seeds in moist seed starting mix and cover the container with Press-n-seal (I like that I can re-use it) until the seeds germinate. Once they are up, I put them under grow lights or into the greenhouse window to grow on.
If the little plants get a bit ungainly and start to tangle up, I just trim their tops. They will be ready to go in the vegetable garden in mid-March (weather permitting). They go in as kind of wimpy little threads that you don’t think can survive. But they do. They’re tougher than they look!
I start my flower seeds the much same way as the onions, but pay attention to the growing instructions because some flower seeds need light to germinate and should not be covered with the starter mix. I also give the flower seeds some bottom heat with a seed starting heat pad to help them germinate.
Once they get a few true leaves I’ll transplant them into flats to grow on before going outside.
I resisted this for a long time. It seemed like so much more work to do the transplanting instead of just starting the seeds right in the cells. But it actually works so much better for me. I waste less seed and I can transplant the strongest seedlings – so I end up with a strong plant in every cell.
I start cabbage, broccoli and lettuce too. It’s a bit early, but I want to be ready in case of an early spring. I seed them directly into a self-watering flat. After growing for a month and a half they will (hopefully) go into the garden in mid-March.