|How Do I Decide Whether to Start my Seed Indoors or Outside?|
Though a number of seed are easily started outdoors where they are to grow, almost all seed can be reliably started indoors. There are two main reasons to start your seed indoors:
1. Some seed types are picky about germinating and require pretty specific conditions to do well, especially if they are tiny seeds. Vinca, begonias, petunias, pansies, salvia are almost always started indoors before planting out.
2. Many flowers and vegetables require a long growing season before flowering or fruiting. Starting them indoors will give them the head start. Tomatoes, Peppers, Celery, Delphinium, Geraniums and Hollyhocks are examples of this category.
Of course, many varieties of seed lend themselves to starting in the ground where you want them to grow. Vegetables such as melons, beans, corn and flowers such as Sunflowers, nasturtium, asclepias, aster, coreopsis and portulaca lend themselves to sowing directly into the garden. In fact, many of these will resist transplanting from a seedling form, and need to be sown either directly in the ground or into a pot, rather than a seedling tray, so they have substantial roots before being planted in the garden. Often, when plants such as zinnias and cosmos are grown too long in a seedling tray or even in a pot, they get leggy and the bottom of the plant never fills out once planted in the garden. So if you want to start these quick-growing and easy seed indoors, be sure you plant them in the garden before they start blooming, while the plants are still putting energy into developing stems, rather than blooms.
The Plant Cross Reference listing of individual flowers and vegetables in this website includes information about whether a particular type of seed will start best when sown directly in the garden, or whether they prefer to be started earlier indoors. There is also a list of varieties that resist transplanting included in the website.
If the seeds you wish to grow need to be started indoors, I have listed what you will need in the rest of this website.
NASA Seeds in Space
"Digging up a mature clump of perennials, separating it into segments with new stems and roots and discarding the old core is an effective way to keep plants vigorous, free-flowering and disease-free," Adrian Higgins, The Washington Post Garden Book