my indoor garden

Planting Seeds Indoors Early Living in Cold Area for Tasty Food

If you’re itching to get your hands dirty and start planting but live in a rural area with a colder climate, you may be wondering how you can get a jump on the growing season. One way to do this is by planting seeds indoors and then transplanting them outdoors once the weather warms up. It’s something I did last year and loved watching them grow indoors and outside later in our rural area. 

I made a few mistakes planting seeds last year and learned some things along the way with these garden seeds.

The most important thing is planning ahead for your summer garden as almost everything about living in a rural area is about planning.

planting seeds indoors
Last year I planted seeds indoors early to get a jump start on the garden.

Here’s everything you need to know to get started with your indoor garden.

Before Planting Seeds – Supplies You’ll Need

Starting your plants from seeds is a relatively simple process, but there are a few supplies you’ll need to get started. First, you’ll need a seed-starting mix, which is different from the regular potting soil.

The seed-starting mix is lightweight and sterile, which helps prevent disease. You’ll also need some type of container to plant your seeds in. Choose containers that are at least 3 inches deep and have drainage holes in the bottom. Of course, you can purchase a starter kit as I had as you can see in the above photo.

Heat Sources

Finally, you’ll need a source of heat and light. A south-facing window may provide enough light, but you may need to supplement with grow lights if your windows don’t get direct sunlight for at least six hours per day.

As for heat, a heating pad designed for seedlings will do the trick. Just be wary if you have cluster flies at the same time as your plantings. They are attracted to the bright light.

When To Plant Your Seeds

The first step is to figure out when to plant your seeds. This will vary depending on the type of plant you’re growing. Some plants, like tomatoes, need to be started indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost date. Of course, if you are in mud season it may not matter what the temperatures are.

Others, like cucumbers, can be started as late as three weeks before the last frost date. You can find the last frost date for your area by visiting The Old Farmer’s Almanac website and entering your zip code.

Planting Seeds From Indoors

Once you have all of your supplies, it’s time to plant your seeds. Fill your containers with seed-starting mix and moisten them with water until it is evenly damp but not soggy.

Soggy soil can lead to fungal diseases, so be sure not to overwater. Next, use a pencil or other sharp object to make 1/2-inch deep holes in the soil. Drop two or three seeds into each hole and then lightly cover them with more seed-starting mix.

Gently press down on the soil to compact it around the seeds. Water the soil again until it is evenly damp. I covered them with a plastic see-through covering to keep them warm.

the start of planting seeds
You can see the start of planting seeds beginning to sprout.

Lighting For Your Seeds

Place your containers in an area that receives plenty of light and keep the soil moist but not soggy. Once your seedlings emerge, thin them out so that only the strongest plant remains in each container.

When transplanting your planting seeds outdoors, be sure to harden off your plants first. You do this by gradually acclimating them to cooler temperatures and direct sunlight over the course of one week.

This will help prevent shock and ensure that your plants thrive in their new outdoor home. That’s something I did not know last year and lost a few plants because I transplanted them in one day.  Luckily, I still had lots of fresh vegetables for months to come for my recipes.

Easiest Crop From Planting Seeds Indoors

My easiest crops to plant and harvest last year were:

  • Spinach
  • Tomoates
  • Corn
  • Watermelon
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant


With a little planning and some basic supplies, you can get a jump on spring planting this year. By starting your seeds indoors, you’ll be able to transplant them outdoors sooner when the weather warms up. Just be sure to do your research ahead of time so you know when to plant your seeds and what type of care they’ll need.

Happy planting!

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