Guide to Starting Seeds Indoors

Hello, dear gardeners and plant enthusiasts! 🌼 Welcome aboard our treasure trove of knowledge on starting seeds indoors. Whether you're just starting out or have been gardening for years, there's always something new to learn. So let's get growing!

Sliced tomatoes of all varieties on a table.

🌟 Why Start Seeds Indoors? 🌟


  • Get an early start on cold hardy greens & roots - eat from your garden much earlier!
  • Start warm weather crops inside so you hit the ground running once frost is behind us: tomatoes, peppers, basil, flowers & more

Variety Selection

  • Pick the seed varieties that you love (vs only plant starts you can buy)
  • Control soil, light, water and protect your seedlings from slugs, mice and other hungry animals - ensuring success

Smooth Transitions

  • Prepare indoor seedlings for their outdoor adventures by following the “Hardening Off” instructions - minimize plant stress!

🍀 Must-Have Supplies for Seed Starting 🍀

1. Soil: Always opt for high-quality seed starting soil. Here's a quick guide:

2. Light: Plants crave light!

  • Use fixtures like T5 fluorescent, LED grow lights, or High Pressure Sodium.

3. Containers: Opt for containers like 4-pack seedling trays with drainage holes.

4. Heating Mat: This will provide the extra warmth some seeds need for germination.

🌿 The Seed Starting Process 🌿

When to start?: Follow the Vegetable Seed Planting Dates for USDA Growing Zones 5 & 6 or consult your local university extension.

Seed Quantity: Use 2-3 seeds per pot to increase germination chances.

Planting Depth: Refer to the Vegetable Seed Planting Guide or seed packets.

Soil Temp: Each seed has an optimal temperature. Consult our Planting Guide and use a heating mat if needed.

Watering: Moist soil is key! Water the seeds just enough to keep them hydrated without drowning them.

Tip: Label your seeds for easy identification later on.

🍃 Growing Those Green Babies (Seedlings!) 🍃

  1. Light: Ensure 16 hours of light per day and maintain the correct distance between plants and light to avoid damage.

  2. Air Temp: Refer to the Vegetable Seed Planting Guide for temperature specifics.

  3. Water: Keep them moist, but not too wet.

  4. Fertilizing: Use fertilizer like Neptune’s Harvest 2-3-1 weekly.

  5. Thinning: Retain only the strongest seedling in each container.

🌼 Transitioning Seedlings Outdoors (Hardening Off) 🌼

This is a gradual 1-week process:

  1. Start with 2 hours of outdoor sun, then move them back indoors.
  2. Increase outdoor time by 1.5 hours each day.
  3. Begin to leave them out at night.
  4. By the end of the week, they should be outside round the clock.

Tip: When planting, check our Seed Planting Guide for spacing details and water immediately after planting.

📝 Other Vital Tips 📝

  • Ensure your soil mix contains the nutrients your plants need.
  • Avoid soil mixes that only have peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, yucca, or lime.
  • If your mix lacks nutrients, add an all-purpose fertilizer or use a liquid fertilizer.

Happy Planting! 🌱🌷 Your flourishing indoor garden awaits. Enjoy the magic of watching seeds sprout and grow

Download a PDF version of this guide.