How to Start Your Vegetable Seeds

February 18, 2022

By Kathleen Kennedy, Rick Bogusch

Bridge Gardens

Despite the often cold, snowy weather of winter, February is a good time to think about your vegetable garden. Starting your vegetables from seeds can be an economical way to grow more food and enjoy a robust harvest. The first step is to order your seeds if you haven’t already. Once you have them, you may want to start some seeds indoors. Make sure you have supplies, like peat pots or cell-packs and potting soil like Pro-mix as well as a place with enough light to foster healthy plant growth. Sunny windowsills suffice. Even better are light stands with LED or full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs. And perhaps a heat mat or two.

Before you sow your first seed, pay attention to last frost dates. That is officially mid-May on Eastern Long Island when soil is warm enough for certain crops to be planted outdoors. Artichokes and cole crops like cabbage and broccoli can be started from seed as early as mid-February as they like cooler outdoor temperatures. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants can be started in mid-April for planting out at the end of May or in early June as they prefer warmer soil temperatures. A good rule of thumb is that you need at least 6-8 weeks from sowing your seeds indoors to transplanting a seedling into the garden.

Check out this video where Rick shares his techniques for sowing seeds, discusses timing, supplies, and strategies for hardening seedlings off when warmer days arrive.

Support the Peconic Land Trust
Peconic Land Trust needs your support to protect the working farms, natural lands, and heritage of Long Island.