How to Start Seeds


Seed starting potting soil mix


Watering can with a small spout

Gardening trowel

Plant stakes (popsicle sticks work great)

Gardening apron

Write down the seed varieties on your seed stakes and set them aside. Fill the seed starting tray with the seed starting potting soil. Tap the tray down gently a couple times to help the soil settle. Water it thoroughly until the water starts coming out the bottom of the tray, then pause and wait for a minute, and repeat twice more. The soil should now be very damp.

Read the sowing instructions on the seed packet to determine how deep the seed should be sowed into the soil. Strawberry seeds, for example, should just be scattered on the surface of the soil, then topped with a very thin sprinkling of soil. Beans, on the other hand, should be sown about 1-inch deep.

Once the seeds are sown, insert the seed stakes into the assigned container so you can keep track of which seeds are which. Water thoroughly once more. It is very important, however, that you water with a thin gentle stream of water, like this watering can, because trying to water light soil like seed starting mixes with a strong stream can actually splash and dislodge the soil and seed, damaging the germination process.

Place the trays on the germination mat, indoors, with the germination mat plugged in. Water about once a day, increasing the frequency if it is hot. The trays will drain water out the bottom each time you water them, so you can do it on a wire rack over a sink and allow the trays to drain for a minute before placing them back on the mat.

Keep in mind the germination time for the seeds you are sowing before giving up on them and tossing the soil in the compost. Different types of plants germinate (sprout) at different lengths of time, and some varieties, like peppers, can take several weeks to germinate.

Once the plant has sprouted, you can take it off the germination mat. Once it's grown to the point where it has little roots poking out the bottom of the seedling tray, it is time to transplant it. To transplant the seedling, prepare the area that you'll be transplanting it to by mixing in the necessary fertilizers and compost that benefit the particular plant you're trying to grow. Dig a hole that's large enough to accommodate the existing root ball of the seedling, plus about 4-inches around it. Water the hole thoroughly before placing the plant inside. Fill the hole around the plant with the soil that you dug out until it is even with the surface soil. Pat the soil down gently around the stem of the plant to secure it in place, but don't press down hard otherwise you can damage the roots of the plant. Water the area around the plant very thoroughly. And just a general tip, when watering plants, try not to splash water onto the leaves, especially in hot weather. Only allowing the water to touch the base of the plant and soil around it, and not stream down over the plant and the leaves to the soil, will help prevent fungi from infecting the plant. Water as needed for your plant variety, and enjoy your harvest!