My Favorite First-Timer Tips for Starting Seeds Indoors!

In every seed, rests a plant just waiting for its moment to shine brightly in the warm sun. From this plant, come more seeds that return back to the soil, to begin the process all over again. It is in this basic essence and connection of a plant, and the garden, that my passion for plants, and gardening, became firmly rooted into my being. 

The time for greenhouse seeds, and starting seeds indoors, has finally come again! Can you tell that I am excited? Seeing as the last post, Get out the John Deere, Springtime is almost here!, discussed primarily grass seed and springtime for the lawn, I thought it only appropriate that this next post be about starting seeds for the food garden. If you are new to the grows of starting a garden, or simply looking for a few new tips on how to start plants from seeds, this post is for you. I welcome you to read on and Thank You for stopping by!

By Oledd (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Many vegetable garden seeds prefer to be started in the warmth of the indoors, be it the confines of the greenhouse (when available) or a brightly light, warm, dry space inside the house. This is where these seedlings will start most successfully. With that being said, pre-planning is a very important aspect of every vegetable garden. If these seeds are not started early enough, your seed planting success plan will be turned into a complete waste of time. Make sure to have your new veggie garden design, and plant list, decided upon at least a couple months prior to planting in the garden, to give seeds ample time to grow!

There is a ‘Web’ full of ways, and How To’s, for starting seeds and starting a garden. Let me keep it simple for you! #1 You don’t need some costly, hi-tech seedling station. Sure, they are neat but totally unnecessary. For those thinking more along the lines of getting down and dirty in the garden, these types of products kind of take the fun out it, a bit. A seed doesn't need much to sprout. Add a little water, some warmth, and within days, the crisp white tips of fresh seedling shoots will emerge from your once inanimate little seeds. Amazing, really, it is!

Every gardener has their own particular way and little tricks for starting seeds, despite the simplicity of the process. Whether seeds are being starting in the humidity of a greenhouse, or the warmth and protection of the house, the same theories generally apply. Whichever growing medium chosen for starting the new seeds, it must to be kept moderately moist, in a humid area, and warm for up to a month.

These are my favorite way of starting seeds indoors and a few little weeds of inspiration for keeping them growing strong till planting time arrives, outside!

How to start plants from seeds, indoors…

(Please be advised these directions apply to garden seeds NOT being sown directly to the garden, these directions may vary from the way your particular seeds need to be started. All directions on your seed packaging should be followed, first and foremost!)

My number one, sure fire trick to starting the most sacred of my seeds and be sure I am not planting any duds is the extremely basic, good ol’ fashioned, paper towel trick! I am sure I am not the only one doing it this way, so I am by no means taking credit for the idea. If I could remember who first showed me this, I would happily give the credit due:)  
  • Simply, lay your seeds inside a piece of folded paper towel, on a plate, dish, or anything that will hold moisture.
  • Add a bit of water, enough to moisten the towel thoroughly.
  • The plate of tray can then be covered with a piece of clear wrap to keep the moisture in longer, but is not necessary.
  • Now that the seeds are ready to ‘bake’ for the next 7 - 14 days, find a warmish place to keep the seed plate safe and easily accessible till all your seeds have sprouted.
  • Make sure to check on your itty bitty seeds daily! More water will have to be added to the plate as the towel dries out and new seedlings will have to be planted as they sprout. I try to make it a habit of checking on them once in the morning, and once in the evening.

I bet you see your first little sprout within three days… As the seeds sprout, each needs to be planted as soon as possible, into the chosen seedling medium and kept in a clearly lidded container for another week, or two. Again, it is extremely important to keep the growing medium moist and the growing environment humid, but by no means would you want to drown the new little guys! (Keep on reading for some valuable watering tips to make your new seedlings thrive!)

When planting a bunch of seeds at once, say your greenhouse seeds, I find it is usually better to just get the job done and get the seeds into grow cubes of some sort, peat pucks, or loose starter mix, right into the seedling trays. The big bonus to using these grow pucks is the ease of use. Simply soak the cube, or puck, drop in a seed, and wait for the new shoots to emerge. You are able to see immediately when new shoots have sprouted, or when none have sprouted at all. If a cube has dried out on one side you will be able to see and fix the problem immediately. No fussing about with a tray insert or having to dig around in the growing medium disturbing the new roots, simply to check on them.

Whichever method you choose for starting the seeds for your greenhouse, garden, patio, or window sill, keep in mind the first two to three weeks of these new seedlings lives will be crucial! Here are some tips and tricks to consider before you get started, from my garden to yours!

  • Expect to be babysitting and tending, these babies, for up to three to four weeks (depending on the seeds you have planted).
  • Read planting directions provided on the seed packet before planting! (Had to be said…)
  • Keep a spray bottle, or hand held mister, close by at all times. This will be your best friend until these new seedlings get into their more permanent homes outside. Mist seedlings and containers daily to give your new little plants a breath of fresh air.
  • Make sure new seedlings trays are kept in a safe place, off concrete or cold floors, away from digging, curious, or chewing pets, and direct heat. For one, close proximity to a heat source will cause new seedlings to dry out more quickly; and secondly, many growing mediums are extremely flammable! Regarding pests, I have lost entire runs of seeds to either a mischievous mouse or a vengeful cat. I still am not quite sure who is to blame...
  • Most grow cubes need to be soaked prior to planting seed, seedlings, or cuttings.
  • Keep Your Seed Sowing Simple, Silly! (Tweet This!)
I hope you have found some of the enclosed tip and tricks to starting seeds and your next vegetable garden helpful, entertaining… and interesting. Please feel free to #share this post, or your own ideas, secrets, tricks, and tips for growing seedlings for the garden, to the comments below! Thanks again for reading:)

UPDATE: March 15, 2014

Come check out Part 2 of our Spring Seed Starting Special, Germinating Seeds in Style, for a handy collection of seed starting and gardening supplies you might be needing to begin YOUR first vegetable garden!    

Related Links and Posts, from +Garden. Plant. Grow. Eat. 


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