Now is the time to start tomato, pepper, cucumber, eggplant, squash and other warm season vegetables. Because of Michigan’s short growing season, choose seed varieties that will produce a harvest in 90-110 days or less. Heirlooms may offer better flavor, but are less disease resistant than hybrids and if weather conditions are less than favorable may not thrive and produce to expectations. Be diverse and plant both. Seeds purchased for planting last year may still grow, if they have been kept in a dry place. Try sprouting them. Read the back of the seed packet for information on harvest preservation of each variety. Some varieties are better suited for canning or pickling.
There are many different kinds of seed starting kits on the market. You can save money and make your own with recycled plastic trays from bakery and meat products. Wash the trays with soapy water then fill with seed starting mix. You can buy a sterile mix ready for planting or make your own by combining peat and either perlite or vermiculite in a 50/50 mixture. Be sure to read the back of the seed packed for planting depth and moisten the mixture before planting the seeds. Cover your trays to retain moisture until seeds sprout. Once seeds have their first true leaves, they are ready for thinning or transplanting to larger pots. Now is the time to start fertilizing them. If you have started too many plants, thinking they won’t all germinate, consider sharing them with neighbors and friends.