- Read the information on the seed packet and plant accordingly. You may need to find out the last frost date for your region.
- Plant seeds in a sterile, germinating mix. I like Gardener's Best Organic Seedstarting Mix.
- Planting options include newspaper pots, cell packs or even recycled containers such as egg cartons, grapefruit rinds or milk cartons.
- Remember that seeds need heat to germinate and light once they sprout. My husband and I put our flats on top of our refrigerator to keep the seeds warm. Some of our friends have used electric blankets or heating pads.
- Provide the seedlings with 13 hours of light, using grow lights. You can often find used lighting fixtures, too. We bought a timer for our lights, which makes life easier.
- Water thoroughly but not too often to prevent mold from taking over.
- New seeds that have been packaged for 2010 are best. However, if seeds have been stored in cool, dry place, they can often last for 2-3 years. Less seeds will germinate, though, so be sure to sow a few extra per pot. This year, we've had good luck with 2 year old arugula seeds but not such good luck with 3 year old lettuce seeds.
- Thin seedlings once they are established and are a few inches tall. Simply snip the seedlings with scissors, leaving only one seedling per cell or pot.
The National Gardening Association has a wonderful video on Seed Starting with Charlie Nardozzi that is well worth your time.
What are your best seed starting tips?