How to Start Your Seeds

Spring is quickly approaching and that means it’s time to figure out what and how much to plant, and when.

If you’re not sure where to begin, the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is a great place to start! This handy chart will tell you when you can start planting different crops outside, which will help you to determine when to start your seeds inside. Once you’ve established this timeline, it’s time to start your seeds!
Follow these easy steps to do so:

Step 1: Round up your supplies.

You will need the following supplies to get started:

  • Seeds – we recommend heirloom seeds!
  • Seed starting trays with dome lids
  • Plant markers
  • Seed starting mix
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Vermiculite (depending on the type of seeds you are working with)

Step 2: Fill your trays with the seed starting mix.

Pour your seed starting mix into a large container, such as a bucket and then add in water. Stir the mixture and then let sit. As the mix absorbs the water, add more if needed. The entire mixture should be damp. Then, fill each section of your seed starting trays with the mix.

Step 3: Sow the seeds.

Add two to four seeds to each section of your tray. If your seeds are small, you can leave them on the surface of the seed starting mixture. If your seeds are large, like bean or pea seeds, cover them with ¼ to ½ inch of vermiculite or more seed starting mix.

Step 4: Label your trays.

Unless you’re only starting one type of seed, label each section of your trays.

Step 5: Create a moist, warm environment.

Mist your seeds with water. The soil needs to stay damp so that your seeds will germinate. However, be careful not to soak the soil or the seeds may rot. Cover the seeds with the dome lid. If your dome has vents, keep them open to increase circulation while your seeds sprout. Then, keep your trays in the warmest part of your home.

Step 6: Make the move…gradually.

When it’s time to move your seedlings outside, don’t rush! Your safe, warm home is a lot different compared to the great outdoors. A week or so before you plan to plant them in your garden, start setting them out in a safe space outside for a few hours each day. A cold frame is a great safe space. Gradually increase the amount of time they spend outside each day until planting day!

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