If you are new to gardening, or just need a refresher, here are some basic seed starting tips!
The two most common ways to start seeds are by direct sowing and starting seeds indoors (in your home or a greenhouse). Starting seeds indoors requires more equipment and space but this can allow you to get a head start on your plants. Direct sowing only requires soil and a seed.
Materials: Soil, water, and seed
Seed packs will have instructions on how deep to plant and how far to space your seeds. These are general guidelines for best performance. Consistent moisture is important to encourage germination.
Sowing Indoors for Transplant:
Materials required: Soil designed for seed starting, seedling trays (can be DIY), heat source, light source, a way to ensure air circulation such as a small fan, water, and seeds.
Fill your seed starting trays with moist soil. You know that the moisture level is right if you squeeze a handful of soil and it feels like a moist sponge. After seeds have been sown according to your seed pack instructions, the seedling tray will need to be covered to retain humidity until seeds have germinated. During this time you will also want your seeds on a heat mat or some other heat source to encourage germination.
When 75% of the seeds in your tray have germinated, remove them from the heat source and apply a light source. This can be a grow light, sunny window, or in a space outdoors that is not in direct bright sunlight.
When watering seedlings, it is important not to over/under water. Soil should be damp but not soggy. Watering from the bottom of the tray is best to prevent disease on your seedlings. When the seedlings have 3-4 true leaves, they are ready to be hardened off (slowly transitioned to outdoor conditions) and transplanted outdoors if you are outside of your frost window.