Starting seeds on Frontporch?

jleighb67March 9, 2014

This is my first time to start seeds. I had planned to do this in the basement with lights. Wondering if its possible to do this on my enclosed front porch but has windows all the way around? Would it be too cold to do this? I live in Indiana with lows in the 20's and 30's.
Thank you in advance for any info provided!

(vegetable plants...tomato and peppers mostly.)

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Yes 20' and 30';s are too cold. If you are using lights you don't need any other light, Growing in windows is not good either. Because of the eaves on most houses there is not enough direct sunlight and you'll end up with leggy plants.

Your best bet is the basement under lights

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 6:12PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yeah you don't mention the temp inside the porch. Is it heated? Since both tomatoes and peppers require 65-80 degree soil temps to germinate it will be hard to get that out on the porch. Will you be using heat mats or what?


    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 7:58PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Few people in the UK, other than commercial growers, use lights for seed starting but many use windowsills successfully. I would say that, with care, you could start seeds in your porch. But the temperature would be an issue unless you can get a heat mat or heated propagator. I start many seeds in a heated propagator inside my porch.

Alternatively, you could put the containers in a warm place indoors, like on top of the boiler or fridge, until the seeds germinate and then, the minute you see a shoot, put them straight out in the glazed porch.

Your seed trays/pots will need to be right up against the glass and you will need to turn them a little every day. Leggy tomatoes are not the end of the world because you can plant them out deeper and they will grow new roots from the stem.

Another trick we use here is to sow seed outside and put an inverted glass jar or cut off plastic bottle over where it was sown. But you need to be careful once it's germinated that it doesn't overheat inside the jar.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 6:23AM
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tanyuu((5/6 - South IN))

Hello fellow Hoosier!

With seeds it depends on what you're growing. Since you're doing vegetables, you'll have to look up how soon they need to be planted before your last frost date.

You will need light, though, but it doesn't have to be anything fancy. Shop lights can work. I have some 2 foot lights that can be daisy chained vecroed onto a cheap metal adjustable shelving unit, and a survival blanket (those metallic blankets sometimes found in first aid kits) wrapped around the back and sides so the light is directed around.

The lights I use tend to go for under 30 bucks a pop, but they're not as heavy, easier to manage, and save on plug-in space. To save on electricity, get a timer and plug in a strip, then plug in your lights into that strip. There's also kits where the lights come with metal stands that are easy to set up.

You could use some heating pads and a dome over your planting material to help seeds start to germinate, if they need warmer temperatures.

This post was edited by tanyuu on Tue, Mar 11, 14 at 12:54

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 5:26PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The OP said he is growing vegetables - tomatoes and peppers. So to avoid any confusion neither require stratification, starting time for peppers is 8-12 weeks prior to plant out and tomatoes 6-8 weeks prior, and unlike perennials, warm soil temps are required.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 5:33PM
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tanyuu((5/6 - South IN))

Thanks a bunch! Yeah, I read that after I posted- I'll edit my post (now that I see we have that ability) so it's more relevant.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 12:52PM
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Thank you all for the information. I am learning a lot from this forum. I did use heat pads and domes. Didn't use lights and plants are still really pretty small. Added lights a few days ago and see improvement already. Im a newbie, what can I say. May have to buy plants again this year but hopefully next year I will be better prepared. Will for sure use basement and lights from the beginning.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:08PM
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