Five Simple Steps to Starting Seeds Indoors
Starting plants from seed is easy if you follow these simple steps. Seeds give you a much larger selection of flower and veggie varieties, save money, and, most of all, it’s fun! And if you have kids, they’ll love it and get a little science lesson too!
- Clean containers in which to grow plants. Suggestions: seed starting kits (these have trays to catch water and clear plastic covers to keep in moisture), plastic six packs recycled from previous plants (be sure to wash in 1 part bleach to 10 parts water solution).
- Seed starting mix or potting soil. Seed starting mix is preferred as it has a finer texture for delicate seeds. Always use freshly purchased soil mixture to avoid any soil borne diseases that might be in old soil.
- Seeds! Sources: local nursery or garden center, or seed catalogs. See post on ordering seeds.
- Plant labels. Suggestions: purchased plastic, metal or wood plant labels; recycled popsicle sticks; recycled plastic knives or spoons. Use a permanent marker to write on the labels so it doesn’t wash off as you water.
5 Steps for Starting Seeds
- Step 1 – Put seed starting mix into a bucket and add water a little at a time to moisten soil mix so it is damp but not soggy.
- Step 2 – Fill containers with seed starting mix, gently firming soil mix without compacting.
- Step 3 – Sprinkle 2-3 seeds in each cell of container and cover with soil mix to the depth indicated on the seed pack. Place a plant label in container with name of seeds planted.
- Step 4 – Water with gentle spray or mist so that the seeds are not dislodged or float out of container.
- Step 5 – Place indoors in a waterproof tray in a warm, well lighted area (a bright window, but not in direct sunlight is good). Don’t forget to water regularly!
Do not allow soil to dry out or seeds will not germinate. If more than one seed germinates in a cell, clip off extras with a nail scissors to leave one seedling per cell. Rotate container every day so that seedlings don’t lean toward the light. Once the seedlings have several sets of leaves (in a few weeks), move outdoors to a sheltered area like a covered patio for a few days so they can adjust to the outside temperatures. Then plant in the garden or pots!
A picture is worth a thousand words, and watching a video is better than reading a blog post! Click here to watch my Starting Seeds in Containers video from my Vegetable Gardening course ‘Creating an Edible Garden’. A coupon to take the course for free is available on the blog.