Starting your own seeds is a great way to save money and increase diversity in your garden. And it’s easy– just throw a bunch of seeds in the soil, water it a couple of times and you’re good, right?

Not so fast…

Starting your own seeds can save you money and give you access to unique plants you might not otherwise find at a nursery. Setting up the ideal conditions for your young plants-to-be requires a watchful eye, but if you follow these steps you should be in good shape. First off, check your seed’s page in our store to see if it needs to be direct seeded or started indoors:

Direct Seed

Direct seeding is basically exactly as the name implies: putting your seeds directly in the ground, versus transplanting young plants into the ground. Direct seeding can be important for more delicate seeds, like Carrots and Borage. It’s also the easiest and fastest way to start your seeds.

DIG a hole in the soil to the depth recommended for your seed.

PLANT the seed and cover back with soil or a thin layer of row cover material, like Agribon (my preferred method)

WATER the soil evenly and lightly, giving the seeds plenty of moisture without washing them away. Do this every day or when top layer of soil is visibly dry.

The key is to apply a thin, consistent layer of water, so as to keep the seed fed without bogging it down and potentially drowning it. Multiple light applications are preferred to heavy soaks.

If using a row cover, you can remove the material after germination.

Start Indoors

Some crops benefit from a  head start. Our climate is too cool for heat-loving plants like pepper and tomatoes to live exclusively outdoors, so for these guys we need to get the seed started before the main growing season and transplant them when the weather is right.

EQUIPMENT YOU’LL NEED:

Seedling Trays

Potting Mix

Spray Bottle with a mister setting

Paper Towels

Heat and Light

FILL the cells of your containers with slightly-moist potting mix

POKE a small hole in each of your soil cells

PLACE one seed in each cell! Don’t waste seed! Trust the germination rates!

MIST your seeds evenly with your spray bottle. (Do not cover your seeds with soil)

COVER seeds with a paper towel and mist again evenly.

PLACE tray in a warm, well-lit location.

MIST your seeds when the paper towel shows signs of drying out (once or twice per day)

REMOVE the paper towel once seeds have germinated and the young plants grow tall enough to touch it. Continue to mist lightly every day.

WATER plants more deeply when they grow to about 2 inches. About once a day.

By now you have healthy baby plants! When they’ve grown to 2 inches high, it’s time to move them outside.