Get a Head Start on Your Garden! - Colliers Hill
Fall leaves - hero image

Colliers Hill News & Events

Get a Head Start on Your Garden!

March ushers in the first signs of spring: days are getting longer, the sun is rising earlier and setting later, and even with snow in the forecast, we know that planting season is just weeks away. 

Or, it can start right now – indoors – by sowing seeds in peat-pot starter trays, cardboard paper towel rolls, or small pots atop your fridge! With some seeds taking weeks instead of days to germinate and bloom, these tips and dates are especially important to get your outdoor plants off to a head start!

Vegetables – Indoors or Out?

According to, our growing season in Erie starts April 30 and ends October 4 – or a total of 157 days. These spring and fall planting guides can help you devise a planting strategy and timeline for your garden-to-table crops. The vegetables you can start outside include crops like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage – around March 19 – assuming the ground can be worked. But, it’s safer to start them indoors now, and transplant them to the garden in mid-April. Same for lettuce and spinach.

Now for summer vegetables, like beans, cowpeas, corn, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelons, and sunflowers, you can plant those seeds directly into the ground at the end of April – or once the soil registers 60º. This goes for root vegetables like carrots, potatoes and turnips, too.

You Say Tomato…

The taste of home-grown tomatoes is arguably the most distinctive of all home-grown vegetables. There’s very little comparison to even hot-house tomatoes in the grocery store and now is a great time to start your tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, then watch the weather forecast. (The Spruce has a guide to growing eggplants from seeds.)

Shirley Bovshow, a contributor on the Home & Family show, shows you how to pre-germinate seeds between layers of paper towels to give your tomatoes a leg up on the weather. 

If the weathermen and weatherwomen don’t predict frost, you can put these in the ground. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts that the last spring frost this year will be May 16. And since tomatoes take a while to produce fruit, and these heat-loving plants won’t tolerate frost, lots of veteran tomato-growers will advise you to wait till Mother’s Day which is May 9! 

Since there are 100s of varieties of tomato seeds, check for tips about disease-resistant seeds, the best soil, best cages, ladders and fertilizer, as well as how to thin seedlings to get the healthiest plants possible.

How to Start Seeds Indoors

You can use egg cartons, peat pots, egg shells, toilet paper rolls or the multi-compartment seed trays now available in stores. Grow a Good Life suggests if you’re starting from scratch, get a good, sterile, seed starting mix to ensure healthy seedlings.

Most seeds need temperatures between 65º and 75º to germinate so find a spot in your home that’s warm, or near a heat source like the top of your refrigerator or near a heat vent. The trays come with a humidity dome that keeps things moist – although you need to check the soil daily and add water – from the bottom – if the soil dries out.

Spring, Summer and Fall Flowers 

If you wait until May 16 to plant seeds, you won’t get to enjoy the blooms from your flowers until August — late in the growing season. To get a head start, most gardeners recommend that indoor seeds be sown six to 10 weeks before the last frost. 

Impatiens and petunias do better when seeded indoors. The growth time varies for different flowers so adjust your plans for outdoor transplanting accordingly. Although impatiens may not be ready for transplanting until they’re about eight weeks old, zinnias started indoors will become tall, spindly and root-bound by that time. So. if you start with seeds indoors, you need to time the germination based on a transplanting date after the danger of frost has passed.

Some plants do better if seeded outdoors because if seeded indoors, transplanting may slow their growth. These plants include cosmos, marigolds and nasturtium. For more recommendations about which plants to start from seeds now, check out the lists

Green Thumbing It in Colliers Hill

Colliers Hill residents are beginning to show off their green thumbs by starting their garden engines indoors! We can’t wait until new plant life blooms and adds to the beauty of the brand new homes here. Check out the models by Century Communities, K B Home and Richmond American Homes to see why life is better on the Hill. With more options in floor plans and amenities tour the model homes and find the design that fits your needs – priced from the $300s to the $600s.