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Indoor Seed Starting Resources

Indoor Seed Starting Resources

Indoor Seed Starting Time


It is that time of year again when I start to think about what seeds I need to start indoors. This is our third year gardening at our house and the second year for us starting seeds indoors. Last year we started tomatoes, ground cherries, spaghetti squash, sunflowers, cucumbers, zucchini, louffa, gourds, pumpkins and watermelons. Our biggest successes were our squash plants and the beans we direct sowed into the ground. This year we have decided to just buy our tomatoes and ground cherries from the store since we put a lot of effort into growing not so healthy plants last year.


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Seed Starting Indoors
Seed Starts 2017


Seed Starting Basics


When starting seeds indoors there are some basic rules and tools you will need. First off you need seeds (of course), pots, a shovel, soil and a grow light. There are many different types of pots you can use from plastic cups to toilet paper rolls and when you are first starting out it is best to try out a couple of different kinds and see what works best for you. Last year we used red plastic solo cups since we had a bunch lying around but ultimately biodegradable pots such as these here are better for the environment. You can also buy one of these seed starting kits to use as well:


Some people also use warming mats but we start our seeds inside the laundry/furnace room which is very warm and we haven’t needed a warming mat. Our grow lights also came from Amazon and you can find many different types that work but we bought one very similar to this one:


We buy our soil from Costco and mix it with this seed starting mix. Our seeds come from a mish mash of places. This year we have a bunch left over from previous years, seeds I saved from our vegetables and some an easy grow seed set from my mother-in-law for Christmas that has a few varieties that we were missing but if I were to order seeds I would from Seed Savers Exchange. They have a mission to grow heirloom varieties and have a program in place to help their members propagate and grow rare varieties of seeds to preserve plants that might otherwise be lost. I am a huge fan of them and my favorite time of year is when their catalog comes in the mail. It gets me super excited for spring!


The basic rules for starting seeds indoors are to:

  1. Start them at the right time according to the package (You can find your first frost date here)
  2. Make sure they are getting the right amount of warmth and light according to the package
  3. Water from below to prevent mildew forming on the leaves
  4. Don’t forget about them until they are root bound (I may have some experience with this)
  5. Harden your seedlings off gradually outdoors before planting in the ground
  6. Be gentle when transplanting them to avoid damaging the roots.


Seed starting is a skill that takes practice so don’t be discouraged if your first few tries are not successful! Even expert gardeners have trouble with particular batches of seeds or if the weather decides not to cooperate! I am a firm believer in practicing something until you figure out a way to make it work so my best advice for starting out is to pick a few easy to start plants such as zucchini, pumpkins, lettuce, radishes or peas and see if they work. You can always go to the garden store later to grab a few pre-started plants if you seeds don’t work out.


seed starts
Seed starts in the garden


Here are some excellent resources for your seed starting adventures!


Homestead Bloggers Seed Starting Resource Page

A large list of seed starting resources.


The Rustic Elk “8 Vegetables you Should Start Indoors”

This is a great list of vegetables that do well when started indoors and tips for growing them.


Dans Bois “Indoor Seed Starting Setup”

This is a great how-to for setting up your lighting system to maximize seed health.


Farm Fit Living “Tips for Growing Vegetable Transplants from Seed”

A great article breaking down into detail how to start your seeds.


Feathers in the Woods “How to Pre-germinate Seeds”

A great piece about how to pre-germinate your seeds prior to planting them for optimal health.


Gardening Advice.net “Tips for Starting Gardening Seeds”

This article talks about the different ways to start your seeds.


Better Hens and Gardens “Homemade Seed Starting Soil Mixes”

Thinking of mixing you own soil? This is a great resource.


Farming my Backyard “How to Make Newspaper Pots and Save Money Starting Seeds”

Use these instructions to make eco-friendly newspaper pots to start your seeds in.


The Reid Homestead “A Complete List of all the Seed Starting Equipment you Need to Successfully Plant Seeds Indoors” 

A comprehensive list of what you will need for seed starting.


Exotic Gardening “Tomato Seed Starting Tips” 

How to start tomatoes successfully.


8 thoughts on “Indoor Seed Starting Resources”

    • I will have to check her blog out! Thank you! You could even try a window sill if you have a sunny window but we don’t have a good one so we are doing it in the laundry room.

    • Awesome! We keep our house cooler too but our seeds are near the furnace and that keeps them warmer. The grow light really helps though. Good luck this year!

  • I would love to grow my own vegetables and have a garden! I just have so little time to take care of one. I know if I planted one it may end up going to the weeds so it’s not worth it for me to start one at this point. I may feel differently in the future, though. Right now all I grow are flowers in my porch pots and a small flower bed by my mailbox. If I decide to start a garden, however, I’ll definitely use some of your info!

    • I am so glad it was helpful for you! We are keeping our garden low key this year and I may only plant a few vegetables. It is great that you realize your limits! Maybe you could slowly add another pot or two of something small so it won’t be so overwhelming for you at first. I am sure your flowers are beautiful!

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