This seed starting guide covers all you need to know to grow vegetables and herbs from seeds. Many plants grow best when started from seeds directly in the garden. Others need to get a headstart in the house before growing big and strong enough to be transplanted in the garden.
I’ve put together a list of all seed starting articles on Home Garden Joy that covers the gamut of garden seed questions. I also have a few videos, too.
Photo by Joshua Lanzarini on Unsplash
Seed Starting Guide from Home Garden Joy
Each spring, my father read the Parks and Burpee seed catalogs cover to cover, often bookmarking, dog-earing, and underlining items to buy. The pages would become wrinkled from bathtub reading. Old catalogs became collages for my school art projects.
The seeds arrived in February, making their way to the basement where my father’s plant lights stood in a corner. He had a special green bulb gizmo that squirted small seeds into the trays of soil. One of my tasks as a child was to soak the peat disks in water. Fascinated, I’d watch them grow before my eyes, soaking up the water and rising into small, self-contained pots.
That was over 40 years ago, and I can still remember the smell of a fresh bag of ProMix, the earthen smell of peat moss, the evenings spent at my father’s side helping him sow tomato, pepper, and other seeds.
Today, I garden in my raised vegetable beds, and while I start fewer plants indoors from seeds, I still love the cherished rituals of seed starting. If you have children at home or grandchildren, do invite them to partake in the springtime ritual of seed sowing. It is something they too will cherish, especially if you give them seeds large enough for their tiny hands to hold easily. Sunflower seeds are great starter projects for youngster; they love sunflowers and watch them grow each weed, plus the seeds are big (and forgiving) enough that if dropped or planted incorrectly, they still flourish.
Seed Starting Resources: The List
The list and links below form the seed starting guide from Home Garden Joy. Each article includes tips and hints to help you grow almost anything from seed.
Seed Starting Basics
- How to Read a Seed Catalog: Learn what the symbols and text mean and how it can help you grow a lovely garden this year.
- How to Clean Seed Starting Trays: Trays should be disinfected each year. Here’s how to clean and disinfect seed starting equipment.
- Seed Starting Indoors: Equipment and Supplies: A list of the basic equipment and supplies you’ll need. You can also reuse items like milk and yogurt cartons for containers and get creative with other equipment, too.
- Best Light for Seed Starting: A sunny windowsill might be fine but you can also make an inexpensive seed starting light stand.
- Seed Starting Mistakes and How to Fix Them: Everyone makes mistakes. If your seeds aren’t growing properly, here’s how to figure out what you did wrong and fix it.
- Are Organic Seeds Better? You’ll see row upon row of organic seeds at the store but should you buy them? Do they produce better vegetables or flowers? Or is there another reason to grow organic seeds?
- Can You Use Old Seeds? Should you throw out old seeds? Will they sprout? Learn more.
- The Benefits of Succession Planning: Success planning means to plant seeds while other plants are in place. It’s used to ensure a continuous supply of certain vegetables like lettuce.
How to Grow Certain Plants From Seeds
- Why Didn’t My Lettuce Seeds Sprout?
- Saving Cantaloupe Seeds
- Starting Peppers from Seeds
- Growing Basil From Seed
- How to Save Sunflower Seeds
- Growing a Lemon Tree from Seeds
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.