Tips for Seed-Starting Success

Reader Contribution by Mike Lieberman

Spring time is here.

You want to start your urban garden from seed this year, but you’re not sure where to start because you’ve only started from transplants.

“Unlike transplants, seedlings are fragile and require newborn-like attention,” said Michelle Moore, owner of year round gardening supply company The Greenhouse Catalog.

This can definitely seem like quite the challenge to face, but it doesn’t have to be.

Here are some ways to help you successfully start your seeds.

Buying Your Seeds

You are going to want to buy your seeds from a trusted source.


“The best seed-starting media holds moisture and air,” said Moore. “Seedlings need to stay moist, but not wet, and need to have plenty of aeration.”

Here are five items that you can start your seeds in.


“Seeds need warmth, so don’t put your seed trays in a drafty area,” suggested Moore.  “Add bottom heat for even better and faster roots to development. Seedling heat mats are an excellent investment.”


Moore says, “Most seedlings germinate best in light. A sunny window may be enough light, but the addition of a small grow light can make a tremendous difference in a healthy start.”

Learn how to select the best grow light.


“Seedlings dry out quickly, so it’s easy to overwater them,” said Moore. “The best methods include frequent but gentle misting, or bottom watering. We love the Smart Float tray.


“Once plants have their second set of leaves, they are ready for food (generally within 72 hours of spouting). A high-quality organic fertilizer, diluted to ¼ strength for the first feeding, works well.”

Check all of the seed starting supplies at The Greenhouse Catalog.

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Photo courtesy of Chiots Run on Flickr.