While some gardeners start seeds for long-germinating plants, such as onions, as early as late January or early February, now is the best time for Minnesota gardeners to begin their seed starting efforts.
For plants, such as lettuces and other greens, seeds started now can be planted out in the garden in three or four weeks to enjoy the coolish temperatures that they need. Tomatoes, peppers and other warm-weather crops are best kept under lights until a week or more after Minnesota’s last frost date, which is anywhere from early to late May, depending on your location.
You do not need a lot of equipment to do seed starting—a good potting or seed starting mixture, a simple set of flourescent lights, containers for your plants. A fan nearby and regular attention from you help a lot as well. If you are new to seed starting, check out some of our earlier posts on this topic, here, here, here and here.
While many people start seeds for vegetables, budget-conscious ornamental gardeners can start lots of annuals from seed. I’ve had terrific luck with hardy annuals such as marigolds, cosmos and zinnias as well as butterfly-magnets like salvia. Recently, we suggested the five easiest annuals to start from seed. If you start your plants from seed, you can grow so many more plants for your dollar.
Herbs, too, are easy to start from seed, especially popular culinary herbs such as basil, parsley and mint.
Have you started your seeds yet?