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When Marty Gardens: 3 Go-To Tips for Indoor Seed Starting.

Recently I introduced to my great Uncle Dan Binford. His Acre was actually 2+ acres of fertile soil on the west side of Wichita. I believe I previously listed it at a ½ acre, my bad Dan. His goal was to plant his first seeds (garden peas) in the ground around Washington’s birthday in late February. Sometimes it worked for him, sometimes it didn’t. My guess is that 2014 Dan would have had a difficult time planting peas early.

The nice thing about the advances in indoor gardening products is that gardeners can, for a small investment, successfully start many of their own transplants indoors. Then, when the weather breaks they’re able to plant the young seedlings into their Acre. Its really not much different than what we do in our production greenhouses. The difference is it’s done at work or home, on a desk or the family piano (maybe not the best idea), and on a smaller scale.

When I start seeds indoors, these are the practices I follow:

Timing – Start a variety of seeds maybe 4-6 weeks ahead of planting them outside. Cool season crops can be started earlier than our summer crops. Things I’d start now would be lettuce, spinach, herbs, swiss chard, maybe try beets and carrots just for fun. Last summer I seeded a wildflower mix in seed trays and they transplanted nicely outside. There are several summer vegetables that need a few more weeks, peppers, tomatoes could be started now as well.

In April, start your vine crops inside for a faster crop of summer and winter squash and cucumbers. These are all are fast to germinate and grow fast. You’ll be planting them outside about 10 days after seeding.

Seeding soil mix – I like the ferti-lome Seeding and Cutting Mix. It’s a professional seed starting mix in a retail size. I don’t typically use garden compost or previously used planter mix for seed starting. I believe it’s best to start with clean soil every time.

Heating – Bottom heat is important in germination of seeds and a good plant light to keep the plants growing after germination.


I encourage you to try a new and different variety this gardening season. Grow outside your box!!

Remember, next Monday night is DOTA (Drinks on the Acre). We’re going to be enjoying Randy’s Boy Scout Stout that he brewed last month. Also, remember in last month’s eBrewsletter we mentioned that Oskar Blues would begin distribution to Kansas this year? Well, it happened quicker than expected and as a special treat that evening we will have their cans at DOTA (supply permitting)! Goebel Liquor is having a beer release for Oskar Blues at 12:00 PM, so stop by and try it out. Visit Oskar Blues Brewery on facebook, and support the newest craft brewery to enter the state!

Also, if you haven’t signed up for the Johnson’s eBrewsletter and you’re a beer geek, do it now! Each edition will come the Tuesday after DOTA, and will be chock full of information about beer, both homebrewing and what’s going on in the craft beer scene.

See you all then,
Marty