Seed Starting 101


So the reality is that not all of us live in paradise where we can grow food 365 days a year. Don’t worry, you will see how you can make the most of your growing season(s) wherever you live by starting your seeds indoors.

First thing you want to learn is the date of your last frost. You can find this online or from your local County Extension office. What you want to do is plant the seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before that date. After that date, we will be taking our plants outdoors into the open air. For us here in the south we shoot for just after Easter weekend each year or around the 3rd weekend in April as our planting date.

Seed Starting Directions: 

  1. Find a small tray with good drainage that can be used to plant your seeds. You can find one of these at your local hardware store. Take care of it so that you can reuse it over and over again. 

  2. Buy a bag of potting soil. This is a little different than regular soil in that it drains really easily, holds the perfect amount of moisture for the seeds and makes for a more oxygenated environment for your seed to spring to life. Don’t pack the soil too tightly, leave it pretty loose. The water will eventually compact it some. 

  3. Insert your ‘Heirloom’ seeds (more on this in other posts) into the soil per their planting instructions on the packet. You may want to add extra in case some don’t germinate and grow. 

  4. Lightly sprinkly water over the seeds and soil and make sure the soil is not compacted. 

  5. Cover the tray with a thick layer of plastic to keep the plants warm and move it to a warm location (65-75 de-grees) with good circulation and where it gets indirect light. Check it and water daily as needed.

  6. As soon as you see sprouts coming through, remove the plastic covering and give them more light. 

  7. Each plant should be growing without interference from other plants, if you have more than one plant in a spot, remove the extra and plant it somewhere else. This is called “pricking out”. 

  8. When the weather gets warm, you want to take your plants outside and let them harden off􀀁 To do this you want to set your tray in the shade for a few days. Then for a few hours a day in the sunshine. 

  9. After you do this for a few days, your plants will be ready for the great outdoors!

Plant your plants in healthy soil enriched with compost and minerals􀀁 If you are using pots make sure they pro-vide plenty of room to grow􀀁 If in a garden, make sure the soil is loose and drains well.

Happy Planting,