Start Your Seedlings, Now!

March 10, 2020

If you’ve been to a Walmart, Lowe’s or Home Depot lately (and all three are within minutes of Southshore), you know that seeds, potting soil, and peat-pot starter trays are front and center on display. We’re approaching the spring planting calendar, especially for sowing seeds that take a long time to germinate and bloom, so take a look at these tips, dates and varieties and start your seedlings!

Vegetables – Indoors or Out?

According to, our growing season in Aurora/Denver starts April 30 and ends October 4 – or a total of 157 days. These spring and fall planting guides can help you devise a planting strategy and timeline for your garden-to-table crops. The vegetables you can start outside include crops like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage – around March 19 – assuming the ground can be worked. But, it’s safer to start them indoors now, and transplant them to the garden in mid-April. Same for lettuce and spinach.

Who doesn’t love a big, juicy home-grown tomato? If you haven’t already, start tomatoes, peppers and eggplants now, then watch the weather forecast. If the forecasters don’t predict frost, you can put these in the ground. Tomatoes are long-season, heat-loving plants that won’t tolerate frost so lots of veterans will advise you to wait till Mother’s Day to put these outside. Since there are 100s of varieties of tomato seeds, check for tips about disease-resistance seeds, the best soil, cages, ladders and fertilizer, as well as thinning seedlings to get the healthiest plants possible.

Now for all summer vegetables, like beans, cowpeas, corn, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelons, and sunflowers, you can plant those seeds directly into the ground at the end of April – or once the soil registers 60º. This goes for root vegetables like carrots, potatoes and turnips, too.

Spring, Summer and Fall Flowers 

If you wait until Mother’s Day to plant seeds, you won’t get to enjoy the blooms from your flowers until late in the growing season – think August. To get a jump start, most gardeners recommend that indoor seeds be sown six to 10 weeks before the last frost. 

Impatiens and petunias do better when seeded indoors. The growth time varies for different flowers so adjust your plans for outdoor transplanting accordingly. Although impatiens may not be ready for transplanting until they’re about eight weeks old, zinnias started indoors will become tall, spindly and root-bound by that time. So. if you start with seeds indoors, you need to time the germination based on a transplanting date after the danger of frost has passed.

By the way, just because we love them, columbines, the state flower of Colorado, will sprout best if sown in seed trays or pots and refrigerated for three to four weeks! And, it will take almost a month before seedlings emerge that can be planted. According to Burbee – the seed company with tons of great info – not to mention lots of seeds, try “hardening off” columbine seedling plants, which means gradually getting them acclimated to the outdoors. You have to baby these plants a bit to get them tough enough to survive transplant shock!

Some plants do better if seeded outdoors because if seeded indoors, transplanting may slow their growth. These plants include cosmos, marigolds and nasturtium. For more recommendations about which plants to start from seeds now, check out the lists. 

How to Start Seeds Indoors

You can use egg cartons, peat pots, toilet paper rolls or the multi-compartment seed trays now available in stores. Grow a Good Life suggests if you’re starting from scratch, get a good, sterile, seed starting mix to ensure healthy seedlings. The gardeners at Grow a Good Life even suggest pre-sprouting your seeds before you plant them in containers.  

Most seeds need temperatures between 65º and 75º to germinate so find a spot in your home that’s warm, or near a heat source like the top of your refrigerator or near a heat vent. The trays come with a humidity dome that keeps things moist – although you need to check the soil daily and add water – from the bottom – if the soil dries out.

Landscape Love in Stunning Southshore

It’s true, we love to landscape in the master-planned community of Southshore. Flowers, bushes, flowering bushes, trees, vines and vegetables – you name it, we take full advantage of the growing season in Aurora. Take a tour of the brand new homes from Taylor Morrison, Richmond American Homes and Toll Brothers and take advantage of Life at the Lake. These ranch and two-story designs are priced between the $400s and the $700s, AND, are close to everything you might need: shopping, recreation and entertainment!