Whether you want a variety of plants for your garden or you want to save money (or both), starting seeds indoors makes sense. A few seed sprouting supplies will help you get started and your seedlings will thrive.
When you plant seeds like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, watermelon, squash, eggplant, basil or other herbs indoors, the seedlings have a chance to develop strong roots without the pressure from cold weather, insects, and disease. And, it also gives you a jump start on the growing season!
Yes, there is always the greenhouse option, but I find starting as many garden plants as I can from seeds, I get a huge variety of vegetables for very little cost.
Another advantage of growing from seed is you can start your plants earlier. I like to have tomatoes by the end May to early June, so I always start my tomatoes early. Greenhouses don’t give you this option. They’ll have plants ready at a time when most people start planting directly to a garden, so not quite as early. I think it’s always fun to be the first in the neighborhood to pick a tomato.
Tip: Before you start planting your seeds indoors, there are two important things to know:
What is the expected date of your last frost?
Where are you located? What is your growing zone?
Once you have this information in your back pocket, you can make the determination when you want to plant your first seeds.
We are in Kansas (zone 6) and nearly to the northern border of zone 7. Living in an area that averages 65% sunshine all year round, we have some fun and try to break a record every year in getting the earliest produce out of our garden.
I use the same growing equipment every year which means it is very important to sterilize it before use. I sterilized equipment last weekend so we could start planting our first seeds.
The grow light is not needed until the seeds germinate and start popping up from the soil. Because I have a west window, the grow light will be needed only when sun is not shining. Seedlings need 10-14 hours of light daily to grow vigorously.
I always start at least 10 seeds of everything I want to grow because some do not germinate and some just give up even after germination. Having a few extra plants is what I shoot for and I can always find someone who needs garden plants.
Tip: Root veggies, like carrots, parsnips, and beets, do not like to be started indoors. If you disturb the root zone of these veggies, you will usually grow deformed produce.
Here are some of my favorite gardening supplies for getting my seeds started each spring. I’ve checked around, and Amazon tends to have the best prices and fastest shipping. I definitely prefer the Foraineam Garden labels. They are so much easier to read than the conventional ones that come with the peat pots below, and they’re durable, too, so I often use these in the garden to stake out what I’m growing.
With the Burpee Self-Watering system below, I typically only need to water once per week to keep my seedlings thriving.
You might be able to find the Miracle Grow potting mix at a better price elsewhere, but I wanted to show you what I use.
Do you have gardening questions? Ask our experts in the comments section below. They’d love to share their knowledge with you!