In many parts of the country there are certain seeds that need to be started ahead of time due to shorter growing seasons. Seeds such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants must be started inside; they cannot be directly sowed into your garden. Starting seeds indoors is not a complicated process and for the most part no special equipment is needed.starting seeds indoors If you have a sunny window or simple grow light that is sufficient. My first grow light was a shop light that I put special bulbs in. Later I inherited a wonderful grow light from my mother. My husband made a special table out of plywood to support the lights and the growing seeds. For me a sure sign of spring was starting seeds indoors!starting seeds Indoors

 

The first step is to set up your growing area. You also want to keep track of the seeds you’ve started, the date you’ve started them and write down the progress. This will help you in future years. There are several sources online to help you keep track. Little House in the Suburb has a wonderful little booklet that you can download. By determining your last day of frost you work backwards to determine when you should start your seeds.starting seeds Indoors

 

The second step is to set up your containers to start your seeds in. Anything works from eggshells to gardening containers! I have plastic containers that I re-use each year. You also want to have a suitable growing medium, you can make your own potting soil or buy a commercial seed starting mix.starting seeds Indoors

 

One rule of thumb is to plant the seeds 2-3 times as deep as the seed is wide. Leek and onion seeds are rather small and are pretty much sprinkled on the top of the soil.

 

Use only the best seeds. Old seeds or seeds that have not been stored properly may not germinate. If you have time do a seed germination test to determine the viability of your seeds. Check my video on the seed viability test I did on some pepper and tomato seeds.

 

Once my seeds are planted I make sure the soil is moist. One way to do this is to fill a plastic bin with water and float the pot in it until the surface is damp. I then label each container with the date and the name of the plant.starting seeds Indoors This will help me keep track of how many days it took the seeds to germinate and will also help me when it comes time to plant the vegetable plants in the garden. I may be able to tell leeks from broccoli but it is very important to keep track of the variety of peppers and tomatoes.

Cover the seeds with a plastic or glass cover to create a mini greenhouse. I use recycled lettuce containers, I save them year to year and they make a great little greenhouse!starting seeds IndoorsYou need to keep the seeds warm; a heating pad may be necessary. You do not need a grow light until the seeds sprout. Once you see the first seeds sprouting remove the cover and place under your grow light. Keep a close eye on the seedlings, as you don’t want them to dry out. Eventually you may need to transplant them into larger pots before they are ready to be planted outside.starting seeds Indoors

Starting seeds indoors is always a good feeling. It’s a sure sign of spring and lets me know that it won’t be too long before I’ll be able to be outside working in the garden!

3 comments on “Starting Seeds Indoors

Margy on April 4, 2018 9:56 pm

My problem is that we travel a lot in the late winter and early spring. Tender little plants need more watering than I can do, so I always wait until it gets a bit warmer and then direct seed. I do start some seedlings in June for July second planting. That has worked fairly well for me because I can do it outdoors. – Margy

Nancy Wolff on April 5, 2018 12:48 pm

Margy,
Sounds like you have a good plan! There are certain things I just can’t direct seed, our growing season is just too short! 🙁

Leanna on April 6, 2018 1:25 am

I am trying to start plants from seeds for the first time. I don’t have a grow light but I have put them in a large window seat that is on the second story with full light. Wish me luck.

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