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when should I start my seedling transplants?

Basically my goal is that they're big enough and strong enough so that they can be hardened off then directed transplanted where they're going to grow; however I'd also like them to be small enough, that I don't have to repot them to bigger containers while I'm still growing them as seedling transplants indoors.

I keep hearing on the news via the weather channel that an early spring is on the way (March as opposed to April) and that warmer spring weather will be earlier too. However is this really going to happen and last, or is it just a temporary 'warm spell'?

I realize that 'potting up' (to bigger containers before they're ready to be hardened off) strengthens root systems. However this is my first time growing seedling transplants. I'm already afraid I'll somehow by accident kill my seedlings in the process of transplanting them.

When I talked to somebody about this, they said it was a matter of timing. If I were to start from seed now indoors, would it be too early?

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