So, I finally quit procrastinating and started planting my earliest seeds. I think the 60 degree weather helped kick me into gear. Although there will still be snow to fall it's really time to get the seeds started.
I bet you're wondering how I know when to start my seeds as seed packages don't come with a message saying when exactly to plant them. I use lots of different resources from books to the internet. I like using Organic Gardening Magazine's seed starting guide. I also recently found a new seed starting guide at The Savvy Gardener that is also good. Seed starting does take a bit of forethought and planning so take a look at the charts to see what you need to do now.
You'll need to have all your seed starting supplies together before you get started. This basically means something to plant your seeds in and a seed starting medium. As I've pointed out in an earlier post I start my seeds in theAPS systems from Gardener's Supply Company. Feel free to start your seeds in anything you like from peat pots, yogurt containers or plastic pots. Just remember that you are going to need to keep a special eye on them when it comes to watering. Now you need a seed starting potting mix to plant them in. Again I turn to the germinating mix from Gardener's Supply Company. I actually was going to use a potting mix from a local store this year, thinking it would be cheaper, but the germinating mix from GSC was about half the price and it's worked really well for me. Please save yourself the heartache of using regular garden soil to start your seeds. It doesn't do well for seed starting as the soil crusts over and makes it hard for the seed to germinate. Remember we want success for our little seeds! Okay, now assuming you've already purchased your seeds you're ready to plant. By the way, I get most of my seeds from Pinetree Garden Seeds. I like their inexpensive prices, quality of seed and an incredible variety of international seeds. In the fall, I've also been known to scour the end of season sales at garden centers for cheap seeds. As a rule of thumb you'll want fresh seeds but I figure it never hurts to try and see what a little bargain will bring.
I'm not an expert gardener by a long stretch but I do enjoy growing my plants from seed. I mostly do this because I'm a frugal gardener but I also appreciate how it helps get me through a long Midwest winter.