A Beginner’s Guide to Seed Starting
It’s seed starting time! If you’re a beginner at seed starting, the task can seem daunting with all the unknowns, but seed starting is actually quite simple. Read our guide for beginners below with how to start seeds, which veggies are the easiest to start, and for a helpful supply list. Happy seed starting!
1- Gather supplies.
Seed starting trays and plastic covers
Peat pellets or seed starting soil
Spray bottle for misting seedlings
Growing lights to stimulate the roots. Use our Dayspot or Agrobrite bulbs or the T5 lamp.
(optional) Heating Mat
(optional) Jiffy pots
2- Select your seeds.
Some of the easiest seeds to start are: microgreens, catnip, radishes, beans, tomatoes, and peppers. Plants that you don’t need to start by seed include kohlrabi and root vegetables, carrots, cauliflower, and cabbage. These can be started directly in the ground or in a large container.
3- Soak seeds overnight.
Soak your seeds overnight by putting them in a bowl of warm water. Use just enough water to cover the seeds. Only thick-skinned seeds need to be soaked (like peas, beans, pumpkin, corn, etc.). Small seeds like lettuce and carrots are small enough to germinate quickly on their own.
4- Fill trays with soil.
Fill your trays with soil and pack the soil down. Tightly packed soil ensures that the seedling has a stable base for establishing roots. When selecting soil, be sure to use soil specifically for seed starting, as many potting soil mixtures are too hot of a mixture for delicate seedlings. Peat pellets will also work.
5- Add the seeds at the appropriate depth.
Each packet of seeds will indicate what depth to plant the seed at. Once planted, label your seeds so as not to mix them up, then cover the tray with a plastic lid to lock in heat and moisture.
6- Mist the seeds throughout the day and wait.
Most seeds will germinate within 7-14 days. Use the spray bottle to gently mist top of the plastic lid 2-3 times a day or every time you no longer see water on the lid. This will keep the soil not soaked but evenly moist. Avoid using a regular watering can or pour spout, as this often leads to the seeds drowning. Also, avoid setting your seeds underneath a vent or near a fan or they will dry out.
You will need to use incandescent bulbs to make sure the seeds stay warm enough and get enough light to germinate. In our store we sell individual bulbs that provide sufficient light for 1 tray of seeds, or the four foot T5 lamp that can illuminate up to 5 trays.
And as an additional encourager of growth and to control the humidity more closely, use a heat mat underneath your seed trays. Ideal germination temperature is around 68-72 degrees, so if your house is colder than that it may take your seeds longer to germinate without an additional heat source.
7- Transplant into larger pots or outdoors.
Once the roots of the plants have started growing out of the bottom of the tray, it’s time to transplant them. Transplant into larger Jiffy Pots to continue growing indoors, or begin the process of placing the trays outside for a few hours every day until they’re fully ready to be planted outside.
If you’re not wanting to transplant to an outside garden, enjoy planting microgreens indoors throughout the year and use them for salads, wraps, garnishes, and more!
That’s it! If you have any questions, stop by the store and we would be glad to help you select seeds, supplies, and more! Visit our seed starting area in the store to get all your supplies in one simple stop!