I love seeds! I love growing things from seed. I love the idea of turning something that looks like a scrap of dirt into something beautiful and productive.
That being said, I tend to jabber on about it at length. Getting a short answer out of me is often tough when I’m talking about anything related to plants.
Well, sometimes people want short answers, beginners and experts alike. They help make topics look as easy as they really are. So, as it IS time to start seeds
indoors, it IS time for the short, easy list of how to do it.
There are 6 things that will make seed starting easy (especially for beginners):
- Light: Every plant needs it and it’s best if they get it as soon as they germinate. Windows may not be enough – provide extra. Fluorescent lights work great. Keep them no more than 3 inches away and keep them on a timer for at least 14hrs a day.
- Containers: Make ‘em, buy ‘em, re-use ‘em? It doesn’t matter as long as they’re clean, well drained, and the right size for the amount of time the plant will live in them.
- Soil: It’s easiest for beginners to start with “seed starting mix” or something specially labeled for seeds. There are lots of opinions about adding outside dirt to the mix, but I avoid it for simplicity sake. If you want to make your own, there are lots of recipes, here’s a good one from a trusted source.
- Water: Apply it gently, but thoroughly. It tells seeds it’s time to grow. Don’t let your soil go dry after the first watering, it can confuse, or kill, your tiny growing plants. Too much can be as bad as not enough – avoid soggy soil. Try covering your containers with clear plastic wrap or a dome to hold in moisture.
- Warmth: Most seeds we start inside like warm soil temperatures, about 70ºF or a little more. Keep your containers in a place that’s warm day AND night for the quickest germination.
- Directions: Follow the directions on your seed packet. Sowing your seeds at the right depth makes a big difference. Read everything on the packet (even the inside) – there is usually some good advice there.
I promised short and this is about as short as I can do.
If you want more info, I wrote some articles on seed starting indoors and outside. They should clear up anything that was omitted for the sake of brevity.