How to Start Garden Seeds Indoors

Sowing beans in tubes

Starting your own garden seeds indoors in late winter will save you money and give your garden plants (vegetables or flowers) a head start when the weather warms up in spring. The price of wholesale seeds and potting soil will be far less than the price plants, plus you will have a more plant varieties to select from when you start with seeds.

Buying vegetable seeds and starting plants indoors will also provide you with a unique opportunity to share seeds and seedlings with fellow gardeners or bring in some extra cash by selling plants in the spring. If you have the land space, consider growing more vegetables and flowers than your family needs and selling the excess during the summer for additional income.

Save money (and possibly make money) by buying vegetable seeds in the summer sales and starting the veg seeds indoors during late winter. Here’s how:

Items Needed

Containers – Egg cartons, yogurt, margarine or cottage cheese tubs, Styrofoam cups, etc. will work fine. Recycle containers whenever possible, and punch a hole in the bottom of each container for drainage prior to putting potting soil inside.

Trays – Anything water resistant and large enough to hold all the seed containers.

Soil – Professional planting/potting mix.

Mister – Any spray plastic bottle will do.

Pencil and tweezers.

Garden seeds of your choice.

24 Hour Soak

Start garden seeds no sooner than 6 weeks before the last killing frost in your area. 24 hours before you are ready to plant the garden seeds into containers, tie seeds up in a piece of cloth and immerse the seed-filled cloth in water. Different varieties of seeds need to be in separate cloths, soaked in separate containers of water. Write on the outside of each container what type of seed is inside to prevent mix ups.

After the 24 hour soak in water, remove seeds from water, untie cloth and gently spread seeds out on paper towel to dry while you prepare the planting containers.

Plant Containers

Fill the containers with planting soil and mist the soil with water. Use the pencil to make holes in the soil 1/4 inch deep and 2 inches apart.

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Gently pick up the seeds, and place one seed in each hole, sowing this way makes sure that you don’t waste any seeds. After you have filled all the holes with seeds, use your thumb to gently cover each seed with soil and press down lightly on the soil.

Mist the soil surface of your newly started vegetable seeds with water. Place containers on the tray and cover with a damp towel. Place the tray in a dark, warm location of your house for the next 4 days. The newly started vegetable seeds need warmth to germinate, if your house is chilly, you will need to put a heating pad under the tray to keep the seeds warm enough to germinate.

After Care

Once per day for the next 4 days, raise the towel and mist the soil of the containers with water. On the 6th day after planting, remove the towel and move the tray to south or east facing window so the seed containers will receive direct sunlight.

In a few weeks, you will have healthy garden plants that only costs you pennies a piece. The seedlings will be ready for transplanting into the garden soil or containers when 2 leaves appear on a stem. If the seedlings have 2 leaves and it’s too early in your area to transplant them directly outside, you can transplant them into larger pots until it’s time to go to their permanent home in your garden.

When transplanting, gently lift the seedlings out with a spoon, getting as much of the potting soil with each seedling as you can.

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