Are you a beginner gardener? While it may seem easier to start your garden from a transplant, or “ready-made” plant, growing plants from seed can be satisfying.

One of life’s hidden treasures is watching your seeds grow into healthy plants with edible fruits or leaves. This is a fantastic way to get into gardening early in the season.

If you’re new to gardening, start small and with a few easy-to-grow varieties. You’ll have the most success if you keep things easy. It’s easy to grow from seed to harvest with the right light and some basic equipment.

What is the best way to start plants from seeds? Here are 11 beginner tips for growing plants from seeds.

11 Beginner Tips for Growing Plants from Seeds

  1. Ensure that the timing is right.
  2. Use the right containers
  3. Make sure your soil is right
  4. Plant your seeds at the appropriate depth
  5. Water
  6. Maintain a constant moisture level
  7. Fertilize
  8. Keep the soil warm
  9. Keep air circulating 
  10. Seedlings need light
  11. Harden off your seedlings

seedlings growing in small containers

1. Ensure that the timing is right.

When planting seeds, the main aim is to get seedlings or plants ready to be transplanted outdoors once the weather permits. Check the back of your seed packet to see when you can start planting them inside and when you should move them outside. This may vary depending on where you live (gardening zone).

Starting seeding 6-8 weeks before the last frost is a good rule of thumb. While timing is key, don’t worry if you start a little early.

Some plants, such as beans and squash, grow so quickly that they don’t need to be started indoors. Read the seed packets carefully to find out which ones to start and which ones to guide sow, which means to plant them outside right away.

2. Use the right containers

You don’t want your containers to be too large or too small, so choosing the right ones is crucial. Choose a container with a depth of at least 2-3 inches and a width of about the same. This will encourage you to start your seeds without worrying about them being planted too deep or too shallow. Make sure there’s a drainage hole in the bottom. This is essential to avoid root rot and overwatering.

3. Make sure your soil is right

Watering and sunlight are essential, but so is soil composition. Purchase a test kit from Amazon, have your soil checked by a local nursery, or visit your local extension office, which will most definitely test it for free. When growing plants from seeds, it’s not a smart idea to reuse the potting soil from your houseplants. You shouldn’t use soil from your garden unless it’s freshly mixed soil that you haven’t yet planted anything else in.

Starting with a new, sterile soil mix is the best way to go. This guarantees disease-free, stable seedlings. The majority of potting mixes are devoid of nutrients. I know the bag says it will feed your plants for up to 6 months, but to ensure you get the healthiest plants, add your own liquid fertilizer a few weeks after the seedlings have sprouted.

Make sure the soil is moist until you start bringing it into the container. You don’t want the soil to be soaking wet or muddy in consistency. It just needs to be slightly damp. This means that the seeds have moisture right away, which aids in their germination. Moist soil also helps to nourish seedlings as they do not have their own established root system yet.

4. How deep should I plant my seeds?

One of the many pleasures of gardening is planting seeds. Here’s a little secret about how to always get the perfect depth. This is founded on a lot of trial and error over the years.

The general rule is that the seed should be planted twice as deep as it is long. So, what exactly does that imply? Let’s make things a bit clearer. Multiply the number of seeds you have by two. If your seed is 1/8 inches long, you can plant it 1/4 inches deep. Isn’t it simple? Most of my seeds are planted about 1/4 inches deep, as this tends to be the sweet spot for germination for most seeds.

5. How often should I water my seeds?

Water is necessary for the growth of seeds and plants. You don’t want to overwater or underwater your seeds so they won’t germinate. Begin with moist soil and water once a day. You may need to water twice a day if you live in a dry climate. Test to see if your soil is dry to the touch. If it is, a small amount of water should be added.

6. Maintain consistent moisture

Use a seed starting container with a lid to maintain a high level of humidity. This is an excellent place to launch your seeds. This is by far the simplest method for creating a high-humidity setting. Another excellent way is to sandwich your seeds between two damp paper towels and store them in a tightly sealed plastic container with a lid.

7. What temperature do my seeds need to be kept at to germinate?

The majority of seeds germinate at temperatures ranging from 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Hold your seeds at 75°F after they’ve sprouted. They will stay safe and flourish as a result of this.

8. Do I need to fertilize my seeds?

Although your seeds usually do not need fertilizer once they sprout and become seedlings, a weekly fertilizer will be required to help them develop a solid, safe root system. Understanding the basic needs of your seeds can be as simple as looking at the box they came in or doing a fast Google search.

9. Do I need to circulate the air for my seeds to grow?

Yes! Air is necessary for seedlings and plants to develop and thrive. Adding a fan to your setup can improve air circulation and help avoid damping-off, a seedling disease. Keeping the air moving around your seedlings will help them survive and develop into strong, healthy plants.

10. How much light do my seeds need?

Some seeds germinate best in the dark, while others need a moderate amount of light to germinate. You will find out what your seeds need by reading the box. All seedlings need light once they have sprouted. You can leave seedlings outside throughout the day (as long as it is warm enough), and then bring them back in at night.

This hardens them off while also providing them with the light they need to develop.

11. What is hardening off seedlings?

Hardening off the seedlings refers to preparing them for planting outside. Start by bringing your seedlings outside for an hour on the first day, then increase by an hour per day for the next 7 days. This will acclimate them to the outdoors. Then, you should be able to transplant them to their permanent location after a week of being outside for 7 hours at a time.

When your seedlings are outside for the first few days, provide them with shelter. Direct sunshine and windy conditions should be avoided. Allow them to grow stronger and more accustomed to being outside.

 

Plants from seeds are not difficult to develop, but they do take some planning and patience. You’ll have hearty, balanced seedlings in no time if you follow these steps! Get the kids involved in gardening as well – they’ll love getting their hands dirty, digging, and watching the seeds grow into full-size plants! 

 

 

Photos by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Author

Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of amotherworld.com, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

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