Follow our simple tutorial on how to start a seed and begin your garden this season
If you don’t have much experience with gardening or seeds, follow our simple tutorial for how to start a seed and watch your love of gardening blossom. All you need is a seed tray, water, seeds, and some love and excitement.
What a joy it is to garden! When the world is dark and dreary my remedy is to take a special trip to the store and pick up some seeds that spark joy (there’s a little Marie Kondo reference for you).
I love seeds. I love the texture of seeds, the color of seeds, the symbolism of seeds—the idea of rebirth, rejuvenation, of new beginnings, of raw potential just waiting to bloom, but most of all of faith. Faith begins as tiny as a seed and grows until it’s capable of moving mountains. What powerful imagery. I love to hold the seeds in my hand and imagine all the beauty they’re going to share with me throughout the season, or for many years to come. It’s so exciting and oh, so rewarding.
SEEDS ARE NICE. SEEDS ARE OUR FRIENDS.
Please don’t be intimidated by starting your own seeds. Just be careful to read the instructions on the seed packet before you begin to understand how to best care for your seeds/plants. Don’t be afraid of failure. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I still mess up now and then. It’s just part of the experience. And the experience is definitely worth the effort.
Here are some simple, easy steps for getting your precious seeds started.
I prefer this particular seed tray by Jiffy because it never fails me and I can pack a lot of plants in one tray; however, I’m sure other brands perform just as well. Just be aware that these instructions are specifically created for trays with the expandable seed plugs. This particular tray can be found at Walmart for about $8 (the online version is slightly different for about $12).
This step is fairly straight forward. I usually use the full six cups of water to make sure every single seed plug absorbs and expands well. You don’t want any gimpy seed plugs. This will depend on your particular climate. As the plugs/pods absorb the water it will become clear which ones need a little extra. Be sure they are fully expanded before moving on to the next step.
STEP 3 & 4
As you can see in Step 3, the mesh fabric is intruding upon the space you will need to plant seeds. Gently push the fabric back out of the way (I usually tear it a little to allow for better movement) and open the top of the seed plug/pod. Then using your index finger gently make some holes for your seeds.
It’s really, really important to read the instructions on the back of your packet. This will tell you the depth at which to plant your seed. Now don’t panic or overthink this; it’s not an exact science. But you don’t want to be planting teeny, tiny seeds way down in a hole or planting a big seed right on top of the soil. A general rule of thumb is plant to a depth that’s double the size of the seed. Usually little tiny seeds sit just below a very scant layer of soil. Bigger seeds sit down inside a hole.
You’ll want to place at least two seeds in every plug/pod. This is simply to ensure a high success rate with sprouted seeds. If one seed is deficient and doesn’t sprout the companion seed should sprout. It’s just some insurance.
Also, pay attention to the kind of environment your plant will need when it’s transplanted to a pot or to the ground. A lot of beginners miss this step and then become incredibly sad when their sun-loving plant begins to dwindle in the shade. Be sure to have a plan to give your plant the best home possible. And pay attention to watering suggestions, too. Some plants like a lot to drink, and some do not. 🙂
This advice is not just some froo-froo, hippy talk, but true wisdom. Plants that are well-cared for and loved thrive. Shower your seeds with good thoughts and some pixie dust. Please don’t fall prey to my biggest hurdle, which is place my tray full of hopes and dreams on a sunny windowsill and then forget about them when life gets a little hairy. Remember to be attentive to the seeds on a daily basis.
Cover your newly planted seeds with an even coating of soil, place the lid on the tray, and be sure to label your rows of seeds. I always think that I’ll remember what they are and I’m tempted to skip this step, but don’t, just don’t. It’s important to know what plant you have growing, especially if you’ve planted more than one variety.
Place your tray somewhere sunny, preferrably a south-facing window. Don’t place your seed tray out on the porch under direct sunlight.
After your seeds have sprouted move the lid slightly ajar from the tray to allow for some air flow. After a few weeks it will be time to transplant. But that is for another post. While you are waiting to transplant be sure to keep your plants watered. When the soil turns a light brown it’s time to water.
More Project Ideas With Seeds
Use our French-inspired seed packets to store your extra seeds, or share them with others. Choose from three different designs, which are FREE to download, and use our tutorial to create the packets. To find the packets and tutorial visit our French-Inspired Seed Packet post.
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