Direct Sow or Start Indoors?

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Direct sow seeds or start them indoors? Which has the better outcome? What should YOU be doing in your garden planning?

There’s no simple answer here….You may have a different outcome from mine due to the common variables of your climate zone, level of experience, expertise and soil conditions.

I’d like to say I was wildly successful setting up my first indoor garden, but unfortunately I can’t. I had a few seed types take off, but others flopped. Which is exactly why you meed to keep track of everything you start with seed, when, and not only the outcome, but the conditions at the time. Did you use grow lights> Did you water everything daily or at least keep everything saturated well.  How long did you leave your grow lights on if you used them> Did you supplement your plant’s growth with materiel accessories like warming mats?

These are all questions to ask.. We had both white and purple grow lights, but at the beginning we only had one bulb. That may have affected plants on the top shelf well, but the others below them may have suffered or not did as well.

I had some seeds take off after we got these warming mats. As they raised the temp around them to about 5 degrees, it kind of mimicked nature outside soil conditions. We had sunflowers, luffas, and peppers appear to start out well, heck the sunflowers got yup to 6′ in height at that point. After that I took to carrying them outside when we started getting warm days to harden them off for a few hours (during 12 noon to 5 pm roughly seemed to work, as the weeks before spring is official, there is daylight until around 7. It kind of seemd like a hassle but as great as your setup may be, it’s not a substitute for natural sun.

The microgreens did well – but they are pretty easy to grow, so if any other time I would grow those again.

Beets did ok at first but then conked out. Lettuce did nothing. A little disappointed there.

But with sowing seeds directly outside, I seem to have much better luck. Of course the timing matters. This year, I was a little later with starting them. I think in 2023 season I was a tad early – the last week of February (as it tends to get unseasonably warm for a few days then) Heck, on February when I see the first bumblebee of the season I’m thinking this is my sign! For this year, I’ve cut it a little later to the second week in April.

I’ve sowed okra, radishes, and carrots seeds in the middle of two beds and I’m seeing okra budding and the radishes, which from what I’ve heard are expedient growing, are showing the tops . We’ve also started some seeds in small pots outdoors, I don’t know if that counts or not, but the fact that they’ve only been outside and have been growing more readily is a good sign.

There’s also the issue of transplanting to get to. Transplanting does put some stress on seedlings, and some can get over it, but others don’t as well. Remember that seedling is still a baby, and vulnerable, so there’s a make it or break it stage going on too, and sometimes slight changes of temperature or length of sunlight

Well, that’s my experience and I thought it was worth sharing, maybe your will be different. Either way, never stop learning, never stop growing. What ever works well for you is probably what you should stick with.

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