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Start Seeds Indoors: 3 Easy Steps

Apr 9, 2012 at 2:03 PM Chime in now

potted seeds, getty images

atthew Septimus/The Image Bank/Getty Images


One of the best ways to get a jump-start on spring is by planting seeds indoors. By the time the last frost has disappeared, you'll have seedlings or some nice-sized plants ready to place in your garden. Growing seeds indoors also exposes you to plant varieties that aren't often available at your local nurseries. And let's face it, this process is one of the great pleasures of gardening. Plus, it's simple—if you follow these three tips:

1. Follow the instructions on the seed packet. Joking aside, it's wise to follow instructions on the back of the seed packet for the zone in which you reside. If it says to start seeds two weeks before the last frost, then do it. It really will make a difference.

2. Make sure seeds get enough light. In order for the most seeds to germinate, they'll initially need at least 12 hours of sunlight a day. If you are using overhead fluorescent lights, make sure that the lights are positioned only two inches above the top of the plastic dome of the seed container. If you are growing the seeds on your windowsill, you might have to supplement the sunlight with some artificial light. Also, remember to take seed containers away from windowsills at night if it's still cold outside. And finally, change the direction of seed containers in relationship towards the sun's rays so that the plant will not grow crookedly.

3. Water, water, water, correctly and not too much. It is much safer to water seeds from the bottom of the container rather than the top. Remember, these seeds are delicate little fellas. If you hose them down with a spray of harsh water, that could be the kiss of death. If you feel that you just have to moisten the top of the soil, please do so gently with a mister. The seeds will appreciate that and the misting will help promote their germination. Finally, try not to overwater although I know that it's sometimes difficult to determine how much water they need. A good rule of thumb is if you stick your finger in the soil and the soil is dry, it's time to water. If it's still moist, don't water.

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