Planting plants from seed is a great way to get started in the garden. Any plant can easily grow from seed to harvest with the right light and simple equipment. A superb example of this you get from the planting cilantro from seed.
Because each plant has unique requirements for seed starting, it is helpful to start small by growing only a few varieties. Seeds like tomatoes and marigolds are especially easy to grow indoors. Other good choices for beginners are basil, zinnia, coleus, nasturtium, and cosmos. If you are a beginner, choose some of these first for planting and then continue with more demanding seeds, such as petunias.
Steps to plant seeds and start your garden
It is important when planting seeds to consider that the seedlings should be ready to emerge when the weather is favorable. Start by looking at the seed packet, which should tell you when to start planting. It usually says, “Plant within six to eight weeks before the last frost.”
Some vegetables, such as beans and squash, are best started outdoors. There is little benefit in growing them indoors because they germinate and grow quickly. But, some flowers, such as poppies, are also best planted outdoors. These seeds are usually marked as “direct seeding.”
Find the right containers
You can germinate seeds in almost any container, as long as they are at least 5 to 7 centimeters deep and have some drainage holes. If you are into DIY, you may want to grow seedlings in yogurt cups, milk cartons, or paper cups.
Prepare the land
Choose potting soil that is made for growing seedlings. Do not use soil from your garden or reuse potting soil from your houseplants. Start with a fresh, sterile mix that ensures healthy, disease-free seedlings. Before filling your containers, use a bucket or tub to moisten the mixture; the goal is to moisten it, but not to soak it. Fill the containers and pack the soil firmly to eliminate gaps.
Remember that most mixes contain few nutrients, so you will need to feed the seedlings with liquid fertilizer a few weeks after they germinate and continue until you transplant them into the garden.
Check the seed packet to see how deep you should plant your seeds. Some of the smaller ones can be sprayed directly onto the soil surface. Larger seeds should be buried. To ensure the result, plant two seeds per cell or pot. If both seeds germinate, cut one and let the other grow. Making a couple of holes in each pot is useful to accommodate the roots.
Moisten the newly planted seeds with a sprayer or small watering can. Cover the pots with plastic wrap or a plastic dome that fits over the seed starting tray to speed germination. This helps keep the seeds moist before they germinate.
Water, food, repeat
As seedlings grow, using a sprinkler or small watering can keep the soil moist but not soggy. Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Install a fan to ensure good air movement and prevent disease. Remember to feed the seedlings regularly with liquid fertilizer, mixed in the ratio recommended on the package.
Seedlings need a lot of light. If you are growing in a window, choose a south-facing exposure. Rotate the pots regularly to prevent the plants from leaning towards the light. If the seedlings do not receive enough light, they will have long and weak stems. If you are growing under lights, adjust them, so they are only a few inches above the top of the seedlings. Keep in mind that seedlings also need darkness to rest.
Move seedlings outdoors gradually.
It is not a good idea to move seedlings directly from the protected environment of your home to the garden. You cared for these seedlings for weeks, so they need a gradual transition to the open air. This process is called hardening. About a week before you transplant, place the seedlings in the garden in a protected outdoor location (partially shaded, out of the wind) for a few hours, and bring them in at night.