Gardeners take pains to provide their plants with the right light, soil and water, but seeds started indoors have different needs than more mature plants outside.  Beginning and experienced gardeners can learn the fundamentals of growing flowers and vegetables from seeds—as well as some pro tips—at a workshop by Farmer Melanie Hardy on Saturday, March 11 from 11-12:30 pm at the farm.

“Starting Seeds Indoors for the Home Gardener”  will cover the basics of what seedlings need to grow well. For example, Mel notes, “people often underestimate how much light is needed to start seedlings, and they think seedlings need more water than they do. You also need good potting soil: you can’t just use dirt from your garden.”

Because every house is different, some gardeners might need to use grow lights or heat mats to create the right conditions. Meanwhile, certain plants, such as carrots, are difficult to transplant to the garden successfully and should not be started indoors. Workshop participants will learn about the supplies and equipment they need, how to select and store seeds, and how to read a seed catalog, as well as get advice about which plants are better to buy instead.

For gardeners who have experience starting seeds but want to become more successful, Mel will answer troubleshooting questions. “People often have the same challenges,” she says.

After years of experience starting plants in greenhouses, “where you have full sun, and it gets hot,” Mel confronted the problems faced by home gardeners when she was starting seeds in her house to grow for her flower business. “That was the inspiration for this workshop.”

Participants should bring supplies for taking notes, as well as a bottle of water, and should dress for a range of weather and temperature. Mel advises wearing a hat, as well as boots or shoes that can withstand mud. Inside the greenhouse, it’s warm and bright; a coat may not be necessary and participants may need sunglasses to see comfortably.

The workshop is co-sponsored with Sudbury Valley Trustees and is open to the public. The cost is $5 for Stearns Farm or SVT members, and $15 for non-members. Please register online or call 978-443-5588, ext. 123.