Starting your own garden from seeds isn’t ask hard as you might think! Watching delicate green tendrils unfurl from dark, fertile soil is one of my favorite parts of spring. With a few simple steps, you can start seeds indoors to sow them in the garden for a bountiful harvest. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or are just starting out, this guide will provide all the information you need to extend your growing season, enjoy the thrill of new life, and add tons of plants to your garden without. breaking the bank.
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.
Why you should start seeds indoors
Extend your growing season: Are you eager to get gardening but don’t have the right climate for early spring planting? Starting seeds indoors allows you to begin a few weeks ahead of the outdoor planting dates, giving you a jump start on the season and a longer harvest period.
Get exactly what you want: Some plants don’t come in seedling form or are hard to find at nurseries. By starting seeds indoors, you can select the exact variety of plants that will thrive in your specific climate and soil type.
Save money: Seeds are much cheaper than buying mature plants from a nursery and since most packages contain many more seeds than you would ever need, you can easily save some for next year.
Enjoy the magic of nature: Watching tiny seeds transform into healthy plants is one of the most gratifying experiences for a gardener. There’s nothing quite like nurturing and caring for something that turns into a beautiful flower or produces delicious vegetables.
What you need to get started:
Seeds of your choice
Go to your local nursery or online store and select the seeds you wish to start. Do some research before planting to determine the best time to start them indoors. Some plants, such as herbs, are easier to grow from transplants and may not germinate well. Others, like lettuce, may do better when sown directly in the garden in early spring.
Containers for seed starting
Small plastic trays, peat pots, or other small containers are best for starting seeds. You don’t need large pots for seed starting as the plants will still be small when you transplant them into the garden. Some people use recycled containers such as egg cartons or yogurt containers—just make sure to poke some small holes in the bottom for drainage.
You will also need a clear plastic cover that fits over your containers to help keep in moisture and heat during the germination process. Alternatively, you can use a plastic bag or dome to achieve the same effect.
Note: If you’re reusing containers from last year, wash them thoroughly to avoid the spread of disease.
Seed-starting soil mix
Purchase a pre-made seed starting mix, which is lightweight and won’t compact. This will ensure your seeds have the best environment to germinate. If you don’t want to purchase a premade mix, you can make your own with equal parts sphagnum peat moss or coir, perlite, and vermiculite.
Watering can and spray bottle
A watering can or spray bottle is essential for providing your seeds with the optimal amount of moisture. Spray bottles are best for misting seeds, while watering cans are useful once the seeds have sprouted. Whichever you choose, try to keep the soil damp, but not soggy.
Note: Adding a tray under your containers and adding a few inches of water can be a great way to keep your soil damp without disturbing your seeds.
Labeling your seed containers is essential, as some plants can look similar when they are young. It will also help you remember which varieties you planted and when. You can use wooden popsicle sticks, toothpicks with a tape flag, or plastic plant labels for this purpose.
If you don’t have a sunny windowsill or greenhouse, then you’ll need to invest in a grow light. A compact fluorescent light (CFL) or LED light is inexpensive and can be found at your local hardware store. Place the grow light two to four inches above the soil and leave it on for 12–14 hours each day once the seeds have germinated. If you’re looking for a great grow light option, you can get one from our store here.
Now that you have all the supplies, you’re ready to start your seeds indoors! Follow these steps and soon enough you’ll be able to transplant them into the garden for a flourishing harvest. Have fun and enjoy watching your seedlings grow! Good luck!
How to start seeds indoors:
Step 1: Add potting mix to a large container and moisten it. Then distribute it between your containers. Pre-wetting the soil will help the seeds stick and will get them off to a good start.
Step 2: Plant seeds at the desired depth according to the instructions on seed packaging. Some small seeds will suggest you lightly sprinkle them over the surface of the soil, while other will require you to plant them slightly deeper. If this is the case, use a pencil to poke holes in the soil to the suggested depth. Plant at least two seeds in each cell. Pat the soil gently in place to cover the seeds. Don’t forget to add your plant labels at this step!
Step 3: Even though you planted in damp soil, you should still give your seeds a light mist after planting.
Step 4: Cover with plastic wrap, plastic tray, or a humidity dome.
Step 5: Place your containers in a warm, sunny spot and keep the soil moist but not soggy.
Step 6: Once the seedlings have emerged, remove the plastic cover and place the containers beneath a grow light. Leave the light on for 12 to 14 hours each day.
Step 7: Spending on how many seeds germinate, you might need to thin them out. Once the seedlings have four true leaves, cut off the weaker ones with scissors at soil level so that only one strong seedling remains in each cell.
Step 8: Add fertilizer to the soil once seedlings have grown to about three inches tall. Get fertilizer specifically for seedlings for the proper nutrient balance. Fertilize weekly.
Step 9: Once your plants are around four inches tall, they’re ready for their adventure in the great outdoors. Gradually acclimate them first by taking them outside for a few hours a day (slowly increasing the time spend outdoors) and returning them indoors at night for a week or two before planting in the garden.
Note: Refer to the seed packet for the exact time of year you should transplant your seedlings. Each plant will be different.
Step 10: Water frequently after planting. Young seedlings need some time to develop deep roots that can retain moisture.
And that’s it! If you’ve followed these steps, you should have success with your seed starting this year. Enjoy watching your little seeds turn into healthy plants, and don’t forget to take pictures along the way to document their growth!