Spring Veggie Seedlings in WNC

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veggie seedlings

Growing seedlings indoors requires artificial light. The cheapest is florescent tube lighting. Ready made shop lights are cheap and work well. Put the lights on a timer to come on for at least 12 hours per day. Be sure to keep the light very close to the seeds then the seedlings. The light will keep the plants compact and strengthen the stems.

Growing your own vegetable seedlings can be rewarding and save you money. Properly produced homegrown seedlings guarantee gardeners a source of plants. With the pandemic, many more people are home gardening. Gardening supplies have been in short supply. Buy your seeds and seed growing supplies as soon as possible.

Not all vegetables do well when planted from seedlings. These plants are ‘direct seeded’ into the garden. These include:

  • Leafy greens – spinach, kale, arugula, lettuce, Swiss chard etc. are planted as seeds outdoors in mid-late March
  • Sweet Peas – planted from seed in mid to late March
  • Beans, peas, corn, summer squash, winter squash, zucchini, pumpkins, sunflowers, – planted from seed in mid to late May
  • Beets, radish, turnips, carrots, cauliflower, collards, kohlrabi, leeks, – planted from seed in April
  • Onions – planted as small slips in late April to mid-May
  • Potatoes – planted as chunked-up tubers in April

seedlings planted in trayPlants that do well from transplants are started indoors under florescent light. Start your seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. In this part of the state, we can see a frost as late as Mother’s Day in mid-May, so you should start vegetable seeds indoors around April 1.

  • Plants to grow from seeds indoors – Tomato, pepper, eggplant,
  • Start seed April 1 in seedling soil mix in trays or cells. If you use trays or individual cells, you will likely need to thin the seedlings getting rid of some to allow the others to grow better.
  • Grow seedlings under florescent light keeping the lights one inch above the seeds then growing seedlings
  • Keep soil moist but not soaked. Allow soil to dry slightly between watering.
  • Fertilize seedlings as they begin growing with Miracle Gro soluble fertilizer.
  • Monitor seedlings for insect pests such as aphids. Use Safer Soap to control aphids
raised beds

Raised beds are a good way to grow home vegetables.

Finally, do not get impatient and plant your transplants too early. We can get frost here in WNC as late as Mother’s Day. Wait until late May to plant your homegrown seedlings.

Written By

Steve Pettis, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionSteve Pettis, Jr.Extension Agent, Agriculture - Consumer and Commercial Horticulture Call Steve E-mail Steve N.C. Cooperative Extension, Henderson County Center
Updated on Mar 2, 2021
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