Starting Seeds Indoors

What you’ll need

  • Container
  • Peat pots

step 1: Select Your Seeds

The first step is to decide what you are going to plant. You can select your favorite annuals or herbs; many people even start vegetable seeds indoors. When making your decision, carefully review the seed packet to determine how long it will take your seeds to grow. You want to start the seeds indoors approximately six to eight weeks before the last frost in your area.

step 2: Selecting a Container

You can start seeds in potting mix, peat pots, a commercial seed-starting kit, peat pellets or in flats. Make sure your container has drainage holes in the bottom, if not cut or drill holes prior to planting. The traditional method of starting seeds is to start them in a flat. Seed flats can be purchased or homemade, any length and width, as long as they are 3 to 3½ inches deep to accommodate root development.

step 3: Planting the Seeds

The best medium for starting seeds is a sterile, soilless mix of sphagnum peat moss with perlite, such as Miracle-Gro. Starting seeds in garden soil is not recommended, since garden soil usually does not have the proper drainage and aeration for container use.

Fill your container of choice approximately ¾ of the way full with a quality potting mix. Sow one or two large seeds into individual pots; sow small seeds in rows in flats. Lightly tap the seed packet to sprinkle seeds into the container. Try to leave some space between the seeds so their roots can develop independent of one another.

For larger seeds: Cover with a layer of potting mix, approximately 1 time the thickness of the seed.

For smaller seeds: Gently tap the seeds into the potting mix. Covering with an additional layer of potting mix is not necessary.

step 4: Sealing the Container

To get your seeds started, seal the pots or flats in a plastic bag and set them where the temperature is right for germination. See seed packet for specific germination temperature instructions.

While the seeds are germinating, if they begin to look dried out, apply a little bit of water through a mister.

step 5: Caring for Seedlings

When seedlings appear it is time to remove the plastic covering and place them in full sunlight. Fluorescent lights can be used if you do not have an area that offers 12 hours of sunlight a day.

Once the first true leaves appear, start feeding the seedlings once a week with Miracle-Gro plant food mixed with water per label directions.