How to Grow Plants From Seed Indoors

by landocheese

To save money and be ready for spring, you need to know how to grow plants from seed indoors. Starting your own plants indoors to plant in the garden is fun and easy.

Growing Plants From Seed

If you know how to grow plants from seed before it's time to plant in the garden, you will enjoy of few benefits that gardener's have been enjoying for years. Get set up now to start your own flowers and vegetables from seed and you will be able to reap the benefits of what you sow as well. Here are some of the best rewards.

An Early Start

You get to start early on your garden, even when the snow is still falling outdoors. Starting seeds indoors is one of the greatest ways to shrug off winter and feel like you are gardening well before you can put plants outside.

Sapling Being Watered
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Save Money

Growing your own plants from seeds, once you have the basic supplies, will only cost you what the seed packet costs plus a bit of seed starting mix. Whether you are starting a perennial vs. annual vs. biennial, you will certainly save money over the long run as compared with nursery seedling prices.

Better Variety

You only get to buy what they carry at the nursery. When you start your own plants from seed you get to choose anything you can find in a store or online. Be ready for a huge number of choices from now on.

Helpful Supplies For Seed Starting

1. Seed Starting System

A great place to start when growing plants from seed is to get some sort of seed starting system to grow the plants in. You will find many options, including all-in-one systems with individual cells and lids to separate plastic pods. Which is best for you depends on what you are growing from seed. For example, if you want a bunch of marigolds consider a flat. For peppers or tomatoes, the separate 2.25 inch pots that are deeper than normal work well. You can even use old yogurt containers or whatever else you have around the house.

The benefit of a high quality seed starting system is that you get a self watering system with a wicking mat. This bottom watering is far superior for seedlings and will help to prevent problems with damping off disease which can kill your young plants.

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Gardman R687 4-Tier Mini Greenhouse, 27" Long x 18" Wide x 63" High

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2. Seed Starting Soil

For starting seeds, you want to get a good seed starting mix to use as soil. Don't use garden soil as this will invite disease and may very well lead to the downfall of you precious seedlings.

A good seed starting mix will be something other than soil, made to be light and airy while retaining moisture nicely.

3. Grow Lights

You can grow seedling in any bright spot near a window but the constant rotation will drive you nuts and may leave your seedlings spindly and twisted. For things like tomatoes and peppers there is no comparison between a window and an good grow light that you can leave on for 14-16 hours per day.

Grown lights come in every size from single light units to triple shelf options. A nice shop light suspended from a chain is also a viable option. Just make sure you choose daylight bulb and be prepared to set the light very close to the young plants to give them the light you need.

The main advantage of using indoor grow lights is that you control the light and the seedlings will grow nice and straight. Things like a cloudy days or intense afternoon sun won't be a concern.

4. Heat Mat

You won't need a heat mat for most seeds, but for warm weather crops like peppers, tomatoes, or eggplant there it will make a huge difference. Some seed need a warmer soil temperature to germinate, and for these a seedling heat mat is a must.

Not only with a heat mat cut the germination time in half in many cases, it will result in seedlings that grow faster, which means that soil borne disease will be much less of an issue.

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Jump Start CK64050, Germination Station w/Heat Mat, Tray, 72-Cell Pack, 2" Dome

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Hydrofarm MTPRTC Digital Thermostat For Heat Mats

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How to Grow Plants From Seed: The Steps

Here are the simple steps to follow to have success in growing plants from seed.

  1. Start the number of weeks ahead of transplanting that is indicated on the seed packet.
  2. Fill seed starting containers with damp soil.
  3. Plant the seeds.
  4. Cover with the correct amount of soil.
  5. Cover the seed containers to maintain humidity until germination.
  6. Place on heat mat if required.
  7. Place under grow lights set on a timer to shine 12 hours per day or more.
  8. After germination, remove the cover.
  9. Only water when soil begins to dry out.
  10. Always water from the bottom by using a wicking mat or giving cells a water bath when needed so they drink from the bottom.
  11. Fertilize the water with liquid fertilizer once there are 1-2 sets of true leaves.
  12. Transplant outside once it is time.
  13. Enjoy your new plants!

Grow Seedlings This Year!

Now that you know how to grow plants from seed indoors all that is left is picking out the seeds that you want to try and getting your supplies ready. You can now join the many gardeners to get started early and enjoy this fun and money-saving way to produce seedlings for your yard and garden.


Updated: 04/15/2012, landocheese
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