5 Things You Need to Start Your Seeds Indoors

Author Kimberlee Bastien shares the five most important ingredients for starting healthy seedlings indoors.

Photo by Kimberlee Bastien

Readers, this is the first of 12 basic homestead skills we’ll be presenting throughout the year from Kimberlee Bastien’s new book 52 Homestead Skills. We invite you to join Kimberlee and her family on their journey to self-sufficiency. Go to 52 Homestead Skills to learn more about this series.

Watching a tomato seedling slowly push up through the soil and reach toward the light is truly magical. That one tiny seedling will eventually produce pounds of irresistible tomatoes.

Seed starting is a great way to save money compared with purchasing starts. For roughly the price of one plant, you can purchase a whole package of seeds. Plus, you’ll have a wide selection to choose from when ordering seeds from catalogs. To start your own seeds, you’ll first need to gather some supplies.

Photo by Kimberlee Bastien

Containers. Your local garden store will likely sell seed-starting trays, but you can also reuse any old plastic container. I saved family-sized yogurt containers for years, which made perfect planters to start larger vegetables. Punch a few holes into the bottom of your container, and place the lid underneath to catch any runoff. This will prevent your soil from staying too damp and growing mold.

Seed-starting trays often include clear plastic domes, which keep seedlings and soil moist to improve germination. If you’re using your own containers and want a dome, you can use a plastic bag instead.

Soil. To make your own seed-starting mix, try mixing together one part coconut coir, one part vermiculite or sand, and one part weed-free compost. Or you can buy a bag of seed-starting mix from the store. Consider adding some worm castings after your seeds develop their first leaves.

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