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The Ultimate Seed Starting Guide

In this guide, you’ll discover how to start seeds inside and start your garden early this year. I’ll cover everything from the best seed starting trays to what seed starting mix to get.

Egg carton with seedlings and soil

If you are hoping to sow seeds early in the season and start your garden truly from scratch, then you’re in the right place! I have put together a guide covering the many essential posts from the Garden Therapy Seed Starting Series.

You will find all the information you need in this seed starting guide to grow a vegetable, herb, or flower garden entirely on your own. From the basics for beginners to helpful tips and tricks for seasoned gardeners, you will be able to start your garden inside or out, with DIY containers or by using some highly-recommended equipment. Whichever you choose, I’ll show you how to start from seed organically and without harmful chemicals.

container with seedlings and soil markers

What Are The Benefits of Starting Seeds Indoors?

There are several reasons why people like to start seeds indoors. For starters, they cost less. You can use containers that are repurposed or upcycled.

Another reason people love starting their own seeds is you can literally start any seed you want indoors, as long as you pay attention to timing. When you are limited to the plants your local greenhouse is selling, you have fewer options.

When you start your own seeds, you control the water, the sunlight, and the potting mix. This gives you more control over your plants and could mean you’ll get healthier plants.

When Should I Start Seeds?

The Farmer’s Almanac has a really handy table that lists when to start seeds indoors based on where you live. If I had to boil it down to one simple catch-all rule, you want to plant annual vegetables about 6 weeks before the last frost in your area.

Be careful not to start your seeds too early. It’s better to be late than early, as the frost will kill them.

How To Start Seeds – Your Complete Guide

I’m certainly one who is passionate about my little seedlings, as most gardeners are! There’s something so exciting about watching that little bit of green shoot up from the soil. Throughout my time as a gardener, I’ve experimented with a lot of seed starting methods. The list below envelopes everything you could possibly need to know about growing plants from seeds.

Click around and enjoy growing your baby seedlings.

Seed Starting 101

Of course, the best place to start is at the beginning with Seed Starting 101. This basic seed starting guide covers how to choose and plant your seeds, as well as information on containers, soil, light, water, and more. Read the entire starting guide here.

Seed starting 101 the basics for home seed starting

How To Start Root Vegetables

As the name implies, root vegetables include any veggie that grows under the ground. This includes carrots, radishes, potatoes, and onions. While root vegetables are some of my favorite items to harvest, there are a few things you should know before you start these seeds. Read all my tips for growing root vegetables here.

how to start the seeds for Root Vegetables like Carrots, Beets, and Radishes

How To Start Seeds for Heat-Loving Plants

There is an entire section of plants called heat-lovers because they thrive in the warm sunshine – tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are a few of this sun-loving bunch.

For these plants, the soil temperature is critical. If it isn’t warm enough, the seeds won’t germinate. Read all my tips for starting seeds for heat-loving plants here. 

how to start the seeds for heat-loving Vegetables like Tomatoes, Eggplants, and Peppers

Seed Starting Trays

Probably one of the most important parts of starting seeds is choosing the right container. It needs to be something that the seed will grow in, of course. But, it also needs to be in a vessel you can transplant and get into the ground the right way.

Seed Starting Containers for the Crafty Gardener

Do cute Pinterest seed-starting containers really work? Honestly, some work better than others, and some don’t work very well at all. I put them all to the test in Seed Starting Containers: The Real Dirt – Part 1. Do toilet paper rolls and egg cartons really make good seed starting containers? All will be revealed in this post.

Seedling growing in a toilet paper tube

Seed Starting Containers You Can Buy

If you aren’t feeling all that crafty, then how about the store-bought containers? The exposé continues with Seed Starting Containers: The Real Dirt – Part 2 where you’ll find out if those eco-pots are really worth the high prices and whether peat pellets grow good tomato seedlings.

Seed Starting Mix

One of the most important yet under planned for parts of growing from seed is to use the proper potting mix. Here’s what you need to know about the best soil for your seedlings.

Use a Soil Block

First of all, I want to introduce you to one of my gardening must-have tools…the humble (amazing!) soil block. This allows you to create your ideal soil mix, then turn it into housing for your seedling, completely container free. This way can save you money and it makes replanting them so much easier too. Read about the easy and economical soil blocks here. 

Soil blocks give seedlings the best start...but that is not why you should use themThe Best Potting Soil

When you are starting your seeds, keep in mind that you will be replanting them outside afterward. You should pick a potting soil that is Peat-free, as it’s good for the environment and your seedlings. Read about the best potting soils here. 

Make Your Own Soil With Composting

Composting is an eco-friendly way to make rich soil for your plants. It can save you money and will cut down on waste. Read all about composting and how to do it here.

soil blocks used for seed starting in a garden

Check Soil pH

Having soil that is too acidic or not acidic enough is both a problem for your growing seeds. Thankfully, it’s pretty simple to do a soil pH test right at home. All you need is some white vinegar, water, and baking soda. This can even be a fun science experiment with your kids. Learn how to check the soil pH at home here. 

Other Seed Starting Supplies

What do you need to have before you start your seeds? A greenhouse and a good shelf are essential. You already know what soil and containers you’ll need. Now let’s look at a few other essential things too.

A Grow Light Shelf

Once you have these beautiful little seedlings starting to sprout, what then? It’s time to build them a nice warm and bright home so they can grow up big and strong. This Grow Light Shelving for Seed Starting Indoors is an essential part of successful seed starting as it prevents cold spring temperatures and short daylight hours from stunting your new seedlings’ growth. Once the warmer weather hits, your little babies will be so advanced that your gardening season will begin in full swing.

seed shelf grow lights

Outdoor Seed Starting in Mini Greenhouses

You could also want to start seeds outdoors with some Mini Greenhouses. These are a staple in my early spring garden and you will soon see why!

Umbrella Greenhouses - How to Start Your Outdoor Garden Early (2)

Now you are armed with all the information you could possibly require about how to give your seeds the best start possible. What tips would you add to the mix?

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