Four Steps to Starting Seeds Inside
Hello everyone! Are you excited about the warming temperatures and daffodil stems poking through the ground? Perhaps you’ve come across some crocuses or noticed buds on the trees? I cannot wait for spring and I’ve started early by planting seeds indoors.
Have you started seeds inside before? Does it seem overwhelming to you? Let me walk you through four steps to starting seeds inside.
First, we will take stock of what we have. Then, we will choose what to plant. Next, we’ll make sure we have the proper supplies and, lastly, we will learn some tips for nurturing our seedlings.
Read on, and don’t forget to leave me a comment below to let me know how you do!
As you can see in the photo above, I have a lot of seeds. Probably too many. It’s time to start sharing! But I took stock of what I had and decided what to plant.
Whether this is your first year starting seeds inside or you’ve done it in the past, the first step is to take stock of what seeds you already have. Perhaps you’ve picked up some seeds you are interested in at the hardware store on a whim, or maybe you have a green thumb neighbor who offers seeds every year. Check them out, and see if you have the proper growing conditions for those seeds. Full sun? Part sun? Soil type? If everything lines up, and if the seeds are a vegetable you want to eat, then get started with those.
Do you have nothing? Time to go shopping. Figure out what you want to grow, and then go shopping for seeds according to your zone and planting conditions. Check out this last post for tips on how to plan your garden.
Choosing What to Plant
After taking stock, choose what you want to plant. Consider what you want to grow, eat, and perhaps preserve this year. Consider the space you have and how much sunlight your garden gets. Then, get to work gathering your supplies. More considerations for what to plant can be found in my last post, How to Plan Your Vegetable Garden.
Using the Proper Supplies
In order to set up my seed planting, I used the following items:
- Storage shelves to hold supplies and seed trays
- Soilless mixture to plant seeds
- Trays with divided cells specific for seed planting
- Popsicle sticks and Sharpie to label the seeds
- Heat mats to keep the seeds warm so they germinate
- Grow lights to encourage them to grow big once they sprout
There are many types of supplies online and at garden centers to get you started with seeds. Choose what suits you best.
If you have a south facing sunny window, you may not need grow lights. I got them this year because last year my seedlings didn’t seem strong enough to transplant.
For more information on supplies, feel free to check out last year’s post on starting seeds.
Nurturing the Seedlings
Once your seeds have sprouted, make sure to keep them at a steady, warm temperature and don’t let the soil dry out. If the seedling is stressed, it can weaken the plant and cut down on its productivity. You want to baby your seedlings so they have the best start possible, giving you the greatest return on investment.
In order to keep the soil from drying out between watering, cover it with a plastic lid or plastic wrap. Just be sure to allow the light to still come through.
When your seedlings are bigger, you can start to “harden them off.” This means you want to gradually acclimate them to the outdoor elements. Set them out in the shade for an hour, and the next day increase the time to an hour and a half. Eventually, set them in partial sun. Little by little, help them to toughen up to the elements outside. You want to avoid setting them in harsh sun at first or setting them out on windy days.
Eventually, you’ll be able to plant them in your garden and you will be so pleased to have done this yourself. You can do it!
Thanks for reading, and check out my video below on how to start seeds indoors. And leave me a comment! I love to hear from you.