By Marisa T.
When planting a garden, there are two options: start the seeds inside or put them directly into the ground. Most plants need a warm soil temperature and cool air temperature to grow. Once the ground is warm enough for the plants, the air will likely be too hot and make the plants bolt. Bolting is when a plant flowers to soon. That is why it is best to start plants indoors. The equipment does cost more, but the payoff is better.
We have a table in our basement that we use for our plants. We hang lights from the underside of the tabletop and put heating pads on the lower level of the table. Then we fill the plant trays with potting soil, plant the seeds, water them, and put the trays on the heating pads. We also set up a fan so that the plants will get used to the wind. Once they begin to pop up, we set a timer that turn the lights on during the day and off during the night. When it gets warm we bring the trays outside, and taken them back in when it gets cold.
We do all this in February, because we use makeshift greenhouses when we plant them outside, but March is also a great time for starting plants indoors.