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How to Grow Plants From Seeds - A Step by Step Guide

Updated: Jan 16

Now that we have determined WHEN to start seeds indoors lets talk about HOW to grow plants from seeds, step by step, and specifically about how to plant seeds indoors with a goal of later transplanting them outdoors to the garden.

When looking at how to grow plants from seed step by step consider seed quality, soil, water, pot and light for best seeds germination and growth.

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1. Choose the Right Container or Pot

You may think it does not matter what container or pot you start your seeds in, but I disagree. Using the right container or pot to grow your plants from seeds plays an important role in the health of the plants. If your container is too large, too deep or has poor drainage your plants will be weak and susceptible to a number of issues including rotting off, disease and mold.

As a general rule, the smaller the seed the smaller the container. Look for a container that is around 1.5 inches deep to start small seeds in and sow them in rows 1 inch wide. This way you can use the blunt end of a pen or Sharpie to lift the rows and gently break seedlings apart to transplant. Larger seeds such as sunflower, nasturtium, cucumber and squash, do well planted in plugs or 2 to 4 inch containers - planting one seed per pot.

Once seeds have germinated, make sure there is sufficient drainage on the bottom of your plant container to allow the surface of the soil to dry out between waterings.

2. Use High Quality Potting Soil

It is important to choose a high quality potting soil when growing seeds indoors. When choosing potting soil, look for one that is sterile and has both peat moss and vermiculite (or perlite) in the ingredients. The peat moss enables the soil to retain moisture without seeming waterlogged and causing plant roots to rot, and the vermiculite (or perlite) improves drainage. Most Pro-Mix brands of soil or Sunshine Mix (may be labeled Sungrow) work well for starting seeds.