Starting Seeds Indoors by Pam DeCeasar.
If you would like to get a head start on your landscape and/or vegetable garden the time is nearing to begin your plants from seeds indoors. The amount of time needed for germinations differs from plant to plant but a good rule of thumb is 4 to 8 weeks. Check the seed packet for the amount of time needed for the particular plant or plants you are starting from seed.
Starting with a good quality, loose planting medium is the first step to success, and these are readily available at nurseries. You can mix your own but unless you will be needed a very large quantity, purchasing it premixed is probably your best bet.
There is a wide variety of seed starter containers that can be purchased and any of them will work fine. But, you can also use most any wood, metal or plastic container so long as it is clean and at least 2 or 3 inches tall. Other items to consider would be egg cartons or foam cups. Just be sure that whatever you use that there is drainage holes in the bottom.
Fill the container with soil. I like to dampen the soil before sowing seeds because it is very loose making it difficult to manage the seeds, especially very small ones, but that’s not necessary. If you are using the containers designed for individual plants, sow one or two seeds in each compartment. If you are using a large container such as a wooden box, sow the seeds about 2 inches apart. Cover each seed with just enough soil that it is not visible. The seed packet should have information telling the correct planting depth. Water gently so as not to wash away the seeds then cover with plastic wrap or place containers in plastic bags.
Most seeds do not need light to germinate but once they begin to emerge they will need full exposure light. However, temperature is very important during this period. Cool soil retards germination, so you want the soil to be around 70 – 75 degrees during the day and 60 – 65 degrees at night. If you only have a few, you might try placing them on top of your water heater… just don’t forget them.
When the first few true leaves appear the plants are ready to transplant. They are young and very tender at this point and have been in a controlled environment so it will be helpful to keep them shaded for 2 or 3 days to give them a chance to acclimate to their new home.
Starting seeds early is really great fun and so very rewarding as you watch the little seedling poke through the soil. I hope you’ll give it a try.