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How To Start Seeds Indoors

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

How To Start Seeds Indoors Watering Can

It's January, and we are surrounded by and devouring all of the fresh, new seed catalogs! January is exciting to the gardener as the thoughts of starting seeds is definitely swirling in the air! As easy as it seems to start seeds indoors, there are some key components that, if applied, can help you avoid the frustrations of making some common mistakes.

However, these mistakes are easily avoided if you know how to prevent them. There are SO many benefits to starting your seedlings that it's totally worth a try! Whether you are ordering specialty, heirloom seeds from a well-known company online, or picking up a 20 cent pack at a local dollar store, it is SO worth giving it a go. Although the benefits are too numerous to list, the two main reasons people start their seedlings are an attempt to save money, and it allows you to grow plants that your local garden center, big-box store, or nursery doesn't carry. It opens a whole new world to backyard gardening by saving time and money and enjoying so many new varieties of some of your favorite plants.  


How To Start Seeds Indoors Watering Can

How To Start Seeds Indoors Watering Can

How To Start Seeds Indoors Watering Can

How To Start Seeds Indoors Watering Can

How To Start Seeds Indoors Watering Can

Regarding starting seeds to save money, let me add a little note on that topic. It can be significantly less expensive to plant your own seeds. You can start plants for pennies compared to $3, 4, or 5 dollars+ if you purchase them from someone else. However, proceed with caution and keep an inventory of what you have. It is relatively easy for a gardener, whether new or seasoned, to get caught up in all the seed varieties and spend quite a lot—just a playful warning and caution. 


It is also the most excellent way to give your garden a tremendous jump start on the season! It usually equates to about a six to eight-week extension of your growing season. This leads to an earlier production as well as an extended growing season on the backend. 


How To Start Seeds Indoors

How To Start Seeds Indoors

How To Start Seeds Indoors

How To Start Seeds Indoors

How To Start Seeds Indoors

How To Start Seeds Indoors

How To Start Seeds Indoors

How To Start Seeds Indoors

How To Start Seeds Indoors


Do not be intimidated if you are new to gardening, so let's get started! Now that you have your seeds, you must follow the seed packet instructions on when to start them. Do not get overly excited and start planting all of the seeds. You must follow the guide on the seed packet on when to plant indoors. If that particular seed notes to begin indoors 6-8 weeks from your last frost date. Follow that guideline. Determine what your last frost date is and count the weeks back to start planting. More than likely, you will have different seeds on different schedules awaiting all signs that the last frost has passed. 


  1. It's time to gather all of your supplies. This will include potting soil (potting, not gardening) - preferably a seed starting mix. You will need containers such as seed trays, pots, planters, recycled nursery containers, bottom trays, egg cartons, red plastic cups, etc. You will also need some vermiculite, plant markers, lights, and possibly heat mats. This doesn't require anything fancy; use what containers you have and get creative. Each container must have a drain hole. If it doesn't, create one. 
  2. Add water into your seed starting mix until it's thoroughly wet but not dripping. A good example of the consistency is crumbly brownie mix. 
  3. Fill your container to the top with soil, packing the soil down, making certain there are no air pockets.  
  4. Make holes in each cell using your fingers or a pencil. A general rule is to plant the seed to a depth twice its size in width. Don't plant them too deep as they will need "light" to germinate well. 
  5. Place 1-2 seeds into each hole. 
  6. Cover the planter very lightly with vermiculite or a dusting seed starting making sure all seeds are covered. 
  7. Label the tray with the plant name and date. 
  8. IMPORTANT: set the planter of water into a tray with 1-2 inches of water and allow the planter to soak up the water. Watch until the seed trays or plants are moist at the top. Drain off any excess water. Do not water from overhead until the plants have their first set of true leaves. It doesn't take much water force to knock the seeds out of place. 
  9. Plants need warmth to germinate, an average of 70-80 degrees consistently and optimally. Read your seed packets, but for most germination, cover trays with a clear plastic dome or plastic wrap and set onto a 70-degree heat mat or in a warm area that stays 65 degrees or higher. 
  10. Check trays at least every day. Once seedlings have sprouted, remove plastic dome lids or plastic wrap and remove them from the heat mat into a well-lit area. After sprouting, they may need extra light depending upon your environment. If you do not have adequate light, follow the instructions of your grow lights if utilizing them. 
  11. As you approach the time in which they will be transplanted into your garden. Begin hardening them off. If you have them in a greenhouse, running a fan daily will help, but you will also start placing them outdoors under a covered area several hours a day and then put them back into their indoor space. And, lastly, it is imperative to know your last frost date. But, note that this is just an estimate. Watch your weather closely in the 10-14+ days following that date, and do not plant into your garden until you are certain all frost chances are gone. 

Happy Gardening, Yoderbilt friends! 

JANUARY GARDEN TO DO LIST

Monday, January 25, 2021

 January. How did that happen so fast!?!  

Spring Garden Tools

To a gardener, January is often the first signal of upcoming spring. Because of the recent holidays, there are often tasks from December that weren't completed to get carried over into this new month. 


Garden Tools

Raised Garden Beds

Raised Garden Beds


Things will begin picking up pace in January compared to November and December's slower pace because the gardeners can feel that "ticking clock." It is important not to get side-tracked and take advantage of any good weather days to accomplish outside tasks. 


  1. If you haven't already, prep your equipment and tools for next year. This will prevent so much frustration when you are excited to start that garden, and your tool is missing, needs repair, or your equipment won't start. Spring is never a time you want to take your gear to the shop because so many others are as well, and your wait can be long. For any needed replacements, check your local big box/hardware stores as they still may have clearance items from last year. 
  2. If you didn't get all of those leaves raked in fall or early winter, now is the time to gather those to work into the soil or add to your compost pile.   
  3. Your seed catalogs have likely arrived or are arriving daily. Now is the perfect time to dive in. Take inventory of what you have and order what you need. Now is the ideal time as so many seeds will become out of stock quickly. Much quicker than you would think. 
  4. If you didn't in December, go ahead and sketch out any garden additions or revisions and list the material you need to complete the new tasks.  
  5. Purchase any materials and start working on these additions on your warm-weather days. Some common tasks are building new garden boxes, if your ground is not frozen - tilling some of the beds, building any trellis needed, burning holes into your landscape fabric for seedlings. Knock as many of those activities as possible now before you get so busy with garden season. 
  6. Continue to turn over your compost pile.  
  7. If you don't have a composter or compost pile, now is the time to order one or build one.  It will be such a wonderful, nutrient-rich addition to your garden soil. 
  8. Plan your garden for the year - determine whether to scale up or down. 
  9. Plant any seeds that can and should be started inside. Follow the seed instructions. For example, I currently have geraniums and Lisianthus growing in my greenhouse. Both are slow growers and should be ready after my zones last freeze date. Don't start too early; you do not want to plant anything too early and not be able to transplant it out in the garden when it's ready. 
  10. Compost any of your seeds that are too old to be viable. 
  11. If you have a greenhouse, NOW is the time to get it ready to be a workhorse for you. On a warm day, clear your greenhouse of all old plant material, clean your floors, prepare your tables, check your heat mats, make sure you have an ample supply of seed starting soil...tidy it up and make room for your seedlings.    
  12. Buy bulbs for next fall. It seems strange, but now is the time to order your fall bulbs for NEXT spring. 

Fall leaves for garden

Garden Tools




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