Starting Your Indoor Garden

By KBJR News 1

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 11:47 AM CDT

Winter still has a hammer-lock on the Northland, but that doesn't mean your garden plans have to wait.

Meteorologist George Kessler has some simple ideas that could reap big rewards once the weather finally warms up.

It's already been a long, cold winter around these parts and we still have 8-10 weeks to go before our last frost date.

The good news is that you don't need the great outdoors to cooperate when it comes to spring planting.

Kessler spoke with some gardening experts to get tips on how to economically start your garden indoors.

Step one is heading down to your local store and picking out your seeds.

It's important to read the back of the package and see how long the plants take to grow.

Even with an indoor head start, our growing season is painfully short and you want to be sure that you have enough time for your crop to come in.

Step two is getting the seeds in the ground.

Planting flats like these can be found for a few dollars, and you fill them with a soil-less potting mix that you can find at any garden center.

Follow the instructions on the back of the seed packet for planting.

Now comes the tricky bit- watering.

Water is the hardest thing, if you have a green thumb or not a green thumb it's probably because of water, and you can't water on a time schedule.

You have to water when the plant needs water.

"After a while the soil gets lighter, and the plant even turns from kind of a dark green to a gray green color. If you learn the subtle difference you'll even see the plant get a little lighter when it's thirsty. But more plants are killed by over-watering than under-watering. People tend to kill them with kindness."

Once the seedlings have sprouted, they can be transferred to individual pots.

The best time for this is when the plants have just gotten their second set of leaves.

If you're in the mood for a more advanced challenge, you can try rooting.

This involves taking a piece of an existing plant and using it to start a new one.

These pros make it look easy, but it's not a simple thing to do.

I think at home it's hard to take a slip of a plant and root it because you need so much moisture.

If you work in the bathroom or the laundry room where you have a high humidity you would be able to take a piece of this geranium and stick that with no leaves under it into the soil and then you have to keep the leaves moist cause it will feed off the leaves- it will stay alive by the moisture on the leaves until the roots come out.

To help out with the humidity, the new rootings can be "misted" five times a day with a spray bottle to keep their leaves damp.

Before you try rooting at home, check the plastic tag that came with the original plant.

If it's patented, then rooting isn't allowed.

Fortunately there are many plant varieties off-patent; you just have to check.

Whether you root or start from seedlings, the last major thing you need is a sunny window.

Although it doesn't feel like it outside, the sun is just as strong as it is at the end of summer.

If you're interested in trying something a little different- heirloom seeds are now available on the Internet.

The Amish save their seeds every year, so these are plants that have never been hybridized or genetically modified.

The produce looks and tastes just like it did hundreds of years ago.

A quick online search for heirloom seeds will get you started.