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How to Start Seeds at Home

Starting and growing the seeds at home is a great experience for both children and adults. If done correctly, you could have beautiful flowers, herbs, or even vegetables to harvest in the fall. The biggest question among new gardeners is how to start the seeds at home. There are many ways to do this but I'll explain how we started the process. First, you will need a few things...

Things you will need:

1. Seeds- I suggest starting with seeds that will produce the herbs or vegetables you like and eat in your everyday meals.

2. Containers- Zip-top bags, I like to use 1gal size, but individual sealable sandwich bags will do just fine.

3. Paper towels- Paper towels or napkins work best for this.

4. Wide mouth glass jar or small glass bowl- for separating seeds.

5. Bottled or purified water- you do not want tap water for this process.

6. Permanent marker- to label seed packs and bags.

7. Tweezers- optional, but proved to be very handy for reaching seeds in the glass jar we used in this session.

***Be sure to read my notes and lessons learned at the end of this article***

Let's get started.

Step 1 - Choose the plant you want to grow from seed.

Step 2 - Label your seeds and their planting date.

Step 3 - Sort the seeds.

Put an inch of purified water in the glass jar or container and then your seeds. I like to test 4 at a time, so place four seeds in the jar, swirl around, and make sure the seeds are completely covered or saturated with water.

The good seeds will sink, and the bad seeds will float. Pick out the dead floaters and place viable seeds on a wetted paper towel using the same bottled water.

Step 4 - Place seeds in a wetted paper towel. Leave space enough for sprouting..about 2 inches. Push down trapped air bubbles; you want complete contact with wet towels and seed.

Step 5 - Place the paper towel seed bed in plastic bags, individually OR in a separated large plastic bag as shown above.

Step 6 - Blow up the bag and lock it in. This will create enough space to make a small "greenhouse" effect later.

Step 7 - Place the container or bag in a warm spot that gets plenty of light until the seeds germinate. You can use a sunny windowsill or under lights if it's too cold near your windows in the springtime.

If you are using lights, keep them about two inches from the top of your seedlings (they'll be taller than you think!), and set them on a timer for 12-14 hours per day.

If you're like me and want to try it the old-fashioned way, simply place the tray of seeds outside in direct sunlight and check daily. Try to keep this tray of seeds away from both large and small animals. Large animals are curious, and small animals may take your seeds!


Tips and lessons learned:

  1. Label and separate seed packets from others for quick reference to what is currently in your soon-to-be garden.

  2. Open seed packs one at a time and on a white paper towel or plate/surface.

  3. Use a shallow bowl or wide-mouthed jar for ease of seed removal.

  4. Tweezers help pull bad seeds and to place them on paper towels.

  5. Use the same water to wet the paper towels to separate the seeds.


  7. Keep the seed starting bag in a warm place at night.

  8. Place the seed starting bag on a dark background during daylight hours to gather as much sunlight as possible.

Below is a full gallery of the process AND a picture of what is to come!


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