Spring is just a little way off which means we’re going to be starting our seedlings soon! It’s always kind of a family affair, here at Rosevine Cottage, I always love the day we all get together on the back porch around our table and start planting. I have so many memories of my grandmother laughing and filling all of the pots so we could label them and put seeds in them.
Gardening can be a little intimidating, especially for beginners so we thought we would put together this post to show teach you the ins and outs of seed starting!
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How To Start Seeds
How to start seeds is something every gardener should learn, starting seeds from scratch gives you the ability to grow varieties of vegetables that you can’t find at your local garden center.
What You Will Need To Start Seeds:
To start seeds for your garden you are going to need a couple of things:
- A good seed starting soil
- Pots – anything with drainage holes will work
- Seeds [need help figuring out where to buy seeds? Check out our article on where to buy seeds]
How To Start Seeds Step By Step:
How To Start Seeds Step 1:
Before you start seeds, moisten the dirt, not so much that it becomes muddy but just enough to let the soil plump up. This will get it ready for planting.
How To Start Seeds Step 2:
Fill your pots with seed starting soil, tap the pots on a hard surface to settle the dirt, and remove any air pockets. Add more soil if necessary to top of the pot.
How To Start Seeds Step 3:
Check the package of each seed variety you plan to grow to find out the depth they need to be planted and any specific requirements. It’s also a good idea to see when each one should be planted. Fast-growing summer annuals should be started 4-6 weeks before the last frost date, while slower varieties should be started 10-12 weeks before the last frost. Talk to a reputable nursery, master gardener, or check the Farmer’s Almanac for your area to figure out the estimated last frost date. Need some more help figuring out when to start seeds? Try our article!
Once you know the depth that the seeds need to be planted, start sowing your seeds. For very tiny seed you can lay them on top of the soil and dust with soil over them, larger ones will need to be buried. Depending on what you are planting you can plant more than one seed per pot, we like to plant two when we are planting veggies. Label each pot/tray with what you planted so you won’t have to guess later, pop cycle sticks work great or use the ones in our shop!
How To Start Seeds Step 4: After You Plant Seeds
Keep the soil moist, but don’t overwater it. If you are planting very small seeds water from beneath, this will work for larger ones too. You can do it by sitting the pots in a tray of standing water, allow to sit until the soil becomes moist then remove from water. Once the seeds have sprouted you’ll want to water from the bottom so you don’t damage the tender plants.
Once your seeds have sprouted they will need lots of light (14-16 hours), a south-facing window will work or you can use grow lights. Keep the lights 2-3 inches above the top of the plants. Check seeds daily to make sure they are moist enough, and the lights don’t get to close to the plants.
Before you transplant out into the garden make sure you “harden off” your plants off. A cold frame works great for this, but if you don’t have one place seedlings in a partially sunny place that is protected from the wind for several hours at a time (make sure you bring them in at night) learn more about how to transplant seedlings to the garden.
How To Store Leftover Seeds
Store leftover seeds in a cool dark place, where rodents and bugs can’t get at them. An airtight container works well or if you have the room you can place them in a refrigerator.
Keeping a garden journal of what you planted and when will be really helpful later on, you can also keep track of how different varieties do and when they start to produce.
Have a question about how to start seeds? Drop them in the comments and we will try to answer them!
Before you go, check these out!
- How To Transplant Seedlings Into The Garden
- How To Make Your Own Garden Soil
- How To Start A Vegetable Garden From Scratch
- 29 Of The Best Spring Gardening Essentials Every Gardener Needs