Growing Cool-Season Crops Indoors


While it’s too early to plant outdoor vegetable gardens, now is the perfect time to start growing cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, onions, radishes, peppers and early tomatoes indoors.

To prevent diseases associated with growing in a warm, humid environment, Johnson County Extension horticulture agent Dennis Patton suggests using a seed starting mix or high-quality potting soil.

In order to produce short, stocky transplants, starter plants need artificial light. Fluorescent shop lights, positioned within three-to-six inches of the plants, work best. However, Patton says they need to be kept on a majority of the time.

There are three phases or stages to starting seeds: germination, growth and hardening off. Patton says hardening off involves moving the plants outside to acclimate to real-world conditions over a seven-to-10 day period.

K-State Research and Extension has a number of publications and videos available online to help gardeners of all skill levels. To find out more, go to: or stop by any county or district Extension office.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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