Spring Gardening Starts Indoors
by Margaret Emerson, Garden Coordinator
Because of Colorado’s short growing season, plants that require a lot more growing time in the hot months, like tomatoes and peppers, need to be started indoors around March or April. Otherwise, they have to be purchased as young plants at the nursery in late May. If they don’t get a head start, all you’ll have in September when the days start to get shorter and cooler are healthy, leafy plants with lots of flowers and no fruit yet.
We have 4,000 square feet of growing space to fill this year at the Crescent Grange garden. Keeping that in mind, it would be cost prohibitive to invest in purchasing small plants at several dollars each for transplanting in June.
This is why I’ve started some of the hot season plants indoors in a spare bedroom, on a card table pushed up against the window. We planted the tomato and pepper seeds the first week of March, so by mid to late-May when temperatures are the minimum 50 degrees overnight to transplant outdoors in the garden, the plants will have had a 2 month head start.
If all goes well, we should have at least two dozen tomato plants of different varieties, including Brandywine, Beefsteak, cherries and Russian Purple. We’ll also have jalapeño and sweet peppers, which do really well in summers when daytime temperatures hover around 90 degrees for at least a month. In recent years, that hasn’t been a problem, but you never know what Mother Nature will bring.