How To Start Plants from Seeds

Whether you have an acre to cover or a couple of pots on a porch, there's something satisfying about growing a garden from seed. If you're a bit seed shy, don't worry! We've got you covered with step-by-step instructions for starting seeds indoors.

1. Choose your crop. Cauliflower, tomatoes, cosmos, snapdragons, zinnias and these easy-to-grow vegetables from Martha Stewart are a good start.

2. Find containers. You can recycle your old yogurt cups and cottage cheese containers, make newspaper cups, use eggshells as cups, egg crates or you can purchase peat or coco fiber pots (what we used!) that can go right into your soil with the seedling. If you decide to recycle your own containers just remember to punch some holes in the bottom for drainage. We've had the most success using tomato seeds.

3. Good dirt. If you have good soil in your garden you can use that to fill your containers, otherwise buy some organic potting soil and some worm gold and make a mixture for each container.

4. Read the packet. This is important because different seeds need to be planted at different depths. The back of your seed packet will tell you what that seed likes, and when it needs to be planted.

5. Spritz some water. You don't want to drown or wash the seeds to the bottom of the container, so spritz the soil with water to keep it moist.

6. Light. Once the seedlings germinate they want lots of light so put them in front of your brightest window.

7. Transplant. Once the plants have grown their second set of leaves, you can transplant them carefully. We like Organic Gardening's post that talks about doing it carefully.

Do you grow plants from seeds? Have you had more luck with certain plants or have any other tips or tricks to share?

[Edited from an original post by Laure Joliet published on March 16, 2009]