Indoor seed starting is not as popular as buying transplants at the garden center, but there are advantages to starting your own seeds indoors. First of all, it can save you lots of money. A packet of tomato seeds costs less than $5 and will yield dozens of plants, depending on the variety. A pack of 4 tomato transplants may cost you more than $10. The math is clear.
Also, there may be a certain variety you like that’s difficult to find at the garden center. I love ‘Persimmon’ tomatoes, but rarely find transplants. Finally, you might be saving some seeds of an old heirloom flower from your mother’s garden or a variety that was shared with you at a plant swap. Keep those varieties growing by starting seeds indoors.
What You’ll Need
To get started you’ll need some basic supplies.
- Seeds– Start with easy to grow seeds such as tomatoes, zinnias, and basil. If you have old seeds hanging around, use the VELCRO® Brand PRESS-LOK® Bags to conduct a seed germination test to check their viability. Wrap 10 seeds in a moist paper towel and place it in the bag. Store in a warm, dark area and check in 1 week. If less than 80% of the seeds have germinated, buy new seeds.
- Pots- Plastic pots are the easiest to use. For a few plants, buy 2-inch diameter pots. For larger sowings, use cell trays. You can also use biodegradable peat or cow pots. These are planted into the soil with no need for transplanting. You can also make your own pots from egg cartons, yogurt cups, and newspaper strips.
- Soil– Always use fresh seed starting soil. Don’t use potting soil or garden soil. It’s too heavy and maybe disease-infested.
- Lights– Don’t grow seedlings in a windowsill. They won’t get enough light to thrive. Purchase indoor lights instead. This will be your most expensive purchase but can be used for years. Buy full spectrum, grow lights and a heating mat to warm the pots and soil so the seeds germinate faster.
- Water & Fertilizer– Bottom water the seedlings so not to disturb them. Look for cell trays that integrate bottom watering into their design. Fertilize only those seedlings that will be growing more than 3 to 4 weeks indoors. Use an organic water-soluble fertilizer.
See Me at The Flower Show!
It’s flower show season across America. I’ll be speaking at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show in Seattle on February 22nd and 23rd, Philadelphia Flower Show on March 8th and 9th and Canada Blooms Flower & Garden Festival in Toronto on March 13th. Stop by, if you’re in the area, and say hi…. and get a free VELCRO® Brand Outdoor Weatherproof Strap giveaway if you attend my talk!