DIY: Start Seeds Indoors


Starting seeds earlier in the growing season can be both rewarding and save you money. According to, it offers more flexibility and control over what you plant in your garden and flower beds.


1. Set up a lighted seed starting area

You will need some supplemental lighting. Seedlings need at least 12 to 16 hours of light each day.


2. Gather growing containers to start your seedling

These can be seed-starting flats, peat pots, toilet paper rolls, newspaper pot, or any recycled container with a few drainage holes poked into the bottom. Place them in leak proof trays or containers to prevent water from dripping.


3. Prepare your seed starting soil

Use new seed starting mix that’s made for growing seedlings. Starting with fresh, sterile, seed starting mix will help ensure healthy seedlings. Pre-moisten the seed starting mix before filling your containers. You will want the soil mix slightly damp, but not soaking wet.


4. Sow your seeds

Check the seed packet instructions to see how deep to sow your seeds. Poke holes into the soil in the center of your containers and sprinkle 2 or 3 seeds. Cover the seeds with soil, press down gently so the seed makes contact with the soil, and mist the soil surface with water. Label the containers with the seed variety and sowing date. Most seeds need temperatures of 65 °F to 75 °F to germinate. Place the trays in a warm location near a heat source, on top of a refrigerator, or use a seedling heat mat.


5. Keep soil moist but not soggy

Use a plant mister or turkey baster to water the young plants when needed. The goal is to keep the soil moist but not soggy.


6. Begin fertilizing the seedlings once true leaves sprout

Once the second set of leaves form it is time to begin fertilizing your seedlings.


7. Thin the plants so the strongest survive

Thinning involves selecting the strongest plant and removing the extras. The easiest way to do this and with the least amount of root disturbance is to snip the unwanted seedlings at the soil line. Water the seedlings well before transplanting.


8. Transplant your seedlings to the garden

After your seedlings are sprouted and ready, transplant them into their permanent location in the garden. Prepare your garden beds ahead of time. If the weather has been dry, water the bed thoroughly the day before you plant. Water the seedlings well after planting.

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