Starting seeds is the perfect way to cultivate a lively and full garden of your own. It all begins with one tiny seed.
Have you ever wanted to plant your garden and grow your food but don’t know where to start? Has it been a dream to produce your fruits, vegetables, or other flora?
What Does It Mean Starting Seeds Indoors?
Not only is seed starting a great way to save money on produce, but it is rewarding to watch your garden grow from your hard work.
As opposed to purchasing nursery plants established in average soil, you begin with a packet of seeds. Starting seeds go through the process of germination.
Germination is the process plants go through from seed to sprout after a period of dormancy. Starting a garden this way requires special attention, but it will be worth it.
Here are some benefits of seed starting that will convince you to start that garden.
What Are The Benefits Of Starting Seeds?
The health of the plants you grow is more within your control. You do not risk any bugs or diseases that may have been attached to other plants you have brought home.
You can monitor the soil more closely to determine what the plant needs more or less of.
If you live in cooler climates, you can grow fruits and veggies that require a warmer weather.
Vegetables like tomatoes and peppers that we use frequently can thrive because of starting seeds indoors. You have access to a more excellent selection of crops this way.
Growing plants indoors allows for a more effortless transfer to an outdoor garden. The plants that you grow from seeds typically mature faster than nursery plants.
This allows for sturdier stems, broader leaves, and healthier produce.
It can also protect your plants from animals that might want to nibble on them as they’re young and tender – like chickens!
Now that we know the basics of seed starting and its benefits, let’s get started with the “how-tos.”
How To Start Seeds
Let’s take this one step at a time. Here are five steps you should take when beginning the seed starting process.
1. Buy your seeds!
Go to your local Home Depot, Lowe’s, or nursery to pick your seed packets. A variety of veggies, fruits, or flowers should be available no matter the season.
2. Read the back of the packet for planting and care instructions
Depending on the type of seeds you get, the packet will provide instructions for the plants you will grow.
Vegetables like tomatoes don’t require a ton of sunlight when they are first planted as seeds, but they do need a warm climate. Tomatoes in their early stages always need a moist layer of soil.
You do not have to thoroughly soak them, but misting them daily should suffice.
This is opposed to growing sunflowers that need sunlight when they are in their seed form.
You can either place them in indirect sunlight or place an artificial light over the container.
3. Purchase seed starting mix
This part of the process depends on the type of seeds you purchase.
The back of the seed packet should provide information on the type of seed starting mix you should look for.
However, if you need some advice on which type of mix to purchase, feel free to ask associates where you shop for gardening supplies to help you decide.
4. Obtain a carton or container
For seed starting, you must have some containers with separate sections to plant your seeds in.
This keeps the seeds divided and provides a more effortless look at the seed’s growth. Most home supply stores and nurseries have seed starting kits available for purchase.
If you do not have a container, a biodegradable egg carton will do just fine.
5. Monitor the seeds daily
Once you’ve successfully planted the seeds, all you have to do is make sure the soil is moist (not soaking) and watch them grow!
Once you start to see sprouts, consult the back of the seed packet again to monitor the amount of light the sprouts should receive. Place your container in a window or where light streams in.
In-depth, step-by-step video about how to begin seed starting
What Month Do Start Seeds Indoors?
With starting seeds indoors, you want to plant them at the right time to be planted outside when the weather is favorable.
Most vegetables and fruits require a warmer climate, so planting the seeds during the fall or winter months will have them sprouted in time to plant outside.
This also depends on the type of climate you live in. If you live in colder climates where the winters are long, planting seeds in the late spring will have them ready for transfer in the summer.
Again, make sure you check the back of your seed packets. They will most likely provide advice on when to plant the seeds indoors.
For example, green peppers need about six weeks to grow and mature before being planted outside. Therefore, you will want to plant the seeds about two months before forecasted warmer weather.
Other Seed Starting Tips
Because seedlings are incredibly fragile while in the germination process, it is essential to provide them with the best care and attention.
Here are a few other tips that will help your growing garden be healthy and fruitful.
Be sure you have the correct container
When obtaining a container for your seeds, make sure they have drainage holes or make them yourself. Drainage holes prevent the roots from being overwatered.
They also prevent salt and fertilizer buildup that are damaging to the strength of the plant.
Buy sterile seed mix
A sterile or organic seed mix is the perfect way to prevent diseases from sprouting with your seeds.
This type of mix is typically lighter, which allows for easier drainage and prevents any fungus from growing with the plant.
There is also a less likely chance of weeds growing within the soil as well. Usually, the package will say if it is a sterile or organic mix.
Ensure even watering
Always return to the instructions on the back of the seed packet for specific watering and light recommendations. For the most part, however, seeds only require light watering.
Consider buying a mister or small watering can to dribble fair amounts of water for the top layer of the soil. You mustn’t soak the soil to prevent waterlogging the seeds.
Consider purchasing a warming pad
Although this is not necessary, it is helpful to have a warming pad for plants that need a warm climate to thrive.
Most vegetables need that gentle warming. If you buy one, place the warming pad under the container and set it to “low.”
Placing the container on top of the fridge or a water heater is good, but the heating pad provides a more even heat distribution.
Check your seeds every day
Seeds are incredibly fragile and need your attention every day. While considering whether or not you should start seeds, make sure you have the time to take care of them.
As stated above, they need daily watering and a change of light if necessary.
Once seeds start to sprout, they need their light adjusted. Therefore, you must check on them daily.
Do not wholly bury your seeds.
The back of the packet should let you know the specifics of how deep to place your seeds in the soil. However, most sources do not need to be buried deep.
Since they are small and can not reach light yet, most seeds need to be lightly covered with soil.
Rotate your seeds, so they receive even lighting.
Although warmth and proper moisture are most important in the beginning stages, rotating your container to ensure even lighting is strongly encouraged.
If you have placed your seeds by a window, rotate the container regularly.
If you are using artificial light, make sure that it evenly covers all of the sections of the container. Seeds also need darkness to rest, so make sure to turn off the light when you go to bed.
“Harden off” seedlings
This tip is excellent for introducing your seeds to the great outdoors. About two weeks before your seeds are ready to be planted outside, put them in sunlight for one hour more each day before transplant.
Slowly exposing your seedlings to sunlight will help them get used to being outside.
During this process, make sure to keep a close eye on them. Whether they are wilting or growing, make sure to adjust their time outside accordingly.
Make sure that you only do this if it is warm outside. If the weather is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, keep your plants inside.
Seed Starting Supplies You Need
Now that we know what seed starting is and how to do it let’s go over the supplies we’ll need. Here are ten supplies you’ll need for seed starting.
Mini Greenhouse Kit
Although this item is not essential, it is perfect for beginners. Mini greenhouse kits typically provide a container, light strip, support tray, and vents.
Hand Seed Sower
It can be challenging to handle some of the teeny tiny seeds in the packet. A hand seed sower has a funnel that allows for even distribution of sources within the container.
It also helps put the unused seeds back in its packet.
Again, although not required, a heating pad is perfect for those plants that need those warmer climates.
Containers that have anywhere between 12-25 slots and are at least an inch or two deep are essential for starting seeds.
Your local gardening shop will most likely have trays that are specifically designed for starting seeds. If you would prefer, you can always use a biodegradable egg carton or pots.
Purchasing popsicle sticks are perfect for labeling your seeds and monitoring their growth. Make sure to stick them in the soil away from your seeds, so it doesn’t interfere with their growth.
A Light Bar
If you are using artificial lighting, an LED light strip is the best. A light strip ensures an even distribution of lighting for all of the seeds.
I would also recommend buying a timer if you are using a light bar so your seeds can get some rest from all that light.
Sterile or Organic Seed Mix
As stated above, a sterile or organic seed mix is essential to the health of your plants.
The lighter mix allows the roots to grow firmly and establish, unlike planting the seeds in average gardening soil.
Mister or Small Watering Can
To reduce the chance of waterlogging your seeds, purchasing a mister or small watering can ensure that your sources are adequately watered.
Because your container will have drainage holes, you may want to buy a leakage tray to prevent water from getting on your surfaces.
There are plenty of options out there. You can even use a tray you have at home.
These pots allow for easy transfer to the outdoors. They are usually made up of wood fiber and peat moss which you can plant directly in the soil.
Should I Start Seeds Indoors?
If you have the time and desire to start your garden indoors, do it. Growing your garden from seeds is a fulfilling process.
You will be able to eat produce from your garden and enjoy the flowers you have cultivated since day one. Plus, it’s something you can do anywhere, including in a rural area or even in your urban garden.
Fostering a garden takes patience and trial and error, but it is worth it. Make sure to read the seed packets thoroughly and consult a gardening expert for more advice.
Don’t worry if your seedlings don’t properly germinate the first time around. There will be highs and lows during this process, but you will learn along the way.
If you get discouraged, don’t give up! There are plenty of resources to go to and plenty of seeds to grow your garden.
Are you ready to start seeds? Pick what plants you want to grow, and let’s get started!
READ NEXT: How to Grow Your Own Food
Want To Share This…