5 Tips for Planting Seeds Inside


Photo by Carrie Williams Howe

Planting seeds inside is a valuable strategy for home gardeners. It allows you to get your garden started earlier, and saves you money over buying seedlings at a garden store. We’ve been planting seeds inside for 10 years now, and after many lessons learned, have our seed starting strategy down to a pretty solid plan. We add variation each year, but for the most part we know what we are going to do even before we get started.

Over those 10 years, we have learned a few valuable lessons about indoor seed starting that I share with you here today.

Choosing to Start Seeds or Buy Starts

Not all seeds should be started inside. It goes without saying that some seed varieties simply do better being directly planted in your garden (think greens, root veggies, or green beans). But there are other things to consider when it comes to your garden as well. Depending on how much you want to grow of a specific vegetable, or what varieties you are looking for, you may make individual decisions in your seed starting adventure.

If you only need a few eggplants, for example, you might decide not to buy a whole packet of seeds only to use one or two of them. Leave that one to the garden center to grow, and save space for things that you want a lot of (like, say, plum tomatoes), especially if your space is limited. You’ll get more bang for your buck from the packet of tomatoes when it turns into 15 or 20 plants for your garden!

On the other hand, if you are looking to try a really unique variety of a certain veggie, you might need to buy a packet because you won’t find that unusual variety at a garden store. Read more about seed starting choices here, and remember: Your garden is your unique plan — that’s the beauty of having your own!

2/27/2021 10:44:06 AM

Leggy plants often mean not enough light also. Do you have the seedlings under grow lights, or just near a window? And I agree with Cheryl-try using a small fan to provide some air flow for your plants and it will make the stems thicker.

2/24/2021 1:54:07 AM

I have read that using a fan next to the seedlings might make them grow stronger stems. I am going to try it this year. Also, if you get leggy tomato plants, remember to lay them down in the hole so that the leggy bit is buried. Roots will grow from there.

2/23/2021 5:15:40 PM

My tomatoes get tall and skinny, how can I get the stems to grow fat like the ones you buy?

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