• Krista Green

When to Start Seeds Indoors - With Free Printable Seeding Guide

Updated: 6 days ago

If you are like me, you are anxiously anticipating and counting down the days to when you can begin your 2022 garden! For fellow Albertans or others with similar frost dates, I will share with you when to start seeds indoors in Alberta. If you live in a warmer climate these dates can be adjusted. Starting plants from seed indoors is not only fun but it ends up costing a fraction of the price that it would to buy these plants already started at a greenhouse!

Find your free printable guide to when to start seeds indoors below.

Vegetable seeds with a seed tray for the seeds to be started indoors in Calgary Alberta, Canada zone 3 growing zone.

To begin with I will discuss what supplies I use for starting plants and then I will share with you the dates I like to plant my seeds.

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Useful Supplies for Starting Seeds Indoors

Soil - It is helpful to have a good quality potting soil mix like this Pro-Mix (note, this is a large compact bale that will be enough to fill a large garbage can). If you attempt to use any compost or soil from outdoors you will most likely end up with soil gnats, aphids and possibly more problems. I do not suggest this rout. (Trust me, I have learned this the hard way!) Surprisingly, good quality potting soil mixes are actually soilless, containing no natural soil. They are great for retaining moisture but also not becoming waterlogged (which can cause seed and/or root rot). Potting soil is not good for vegetable garden beds (unless mixed with 1/3 compost and 1/3 top soil) but is wonderful for growing plants in containers! Be mindful of the fact that although this soil can retain nutrients, it does not contain many nutrients. Your plants will benefit greatly from fertilizing once every week or so. Check out your local garden center or hardware store for more potting soil options.

Grow Lights - It is not necessary to use grow lights if you have a sunny window but you will end up with less leggy, stronger and all around healthier plants by using grow lights. I started my seedlings indoors without grow lights in a sunny window for 2 years before I made the leap and purchased grow lights. These grow lights from Amazon are the grow lights I am using now.

Indoor Greenhouse - An Indoor greenhouse set up is also not necessary but does make germination quicker and the layered shelves enable you to grow more in a smaller space. I purchased one for the first time last year and love it!

Plug Trays/Plant Pots - You will also need a variety of plant plug trays or plant pots. You can get creative here if you would like. Some people use things like toilet paper rolls, egg shells, disposable cups or clear clamshell containers (the ones things like lettuce and grapes come in) to grow their plants. The type of container is not important as long as you have water drainage. If you use disposable cups, make sure you put holes in the bottom of them to allow for sufficient water drainage.

Labels - Use popsicle sticks, re-write on old plant labels or purchase blank labels so that you can keep track of what you are growing. I like to include the seed brand on my labels so I can make notes on what ones grow best. I bought these ones from Amazon and have enough to share with all my friends and to last me years to come!

Timer - Ideally you will have your grow lights on for 14 to 16 hours a day. I am not very consistent with turning my lights on and off manually and just purchased these programmable timers from Amazon to help me out! This way I can set the timer and forget about the lights.

Dates for Starting Seeds Indoors in Southern Alberta

Now that you have your supplies we get to the big question; when do we plant our seeds? I will share dates with you for when I start different varieties of seeds indoors for my zone 3 growing location in Alberta. Our last hard frost