It is important to find out when the last frost date is in your area. Consult your seed packet to see how long it takes for the seeds to sprout. Count backward from the last frost date in your area to know when to start your seedlings indoors. Need help finding out when the last frost date is in your area? Contact your local extension office or consult the Farmer’s Almanac at almanac.org.
Seedlings can be grown in just about any kind of container. Seedling trays are available at many local retailers. Most are inexpensive and already have holes in the bottom for drainage. If you choose to use another type of container, be sure to make a hole in the bottom. Fill the trays or containers with seed-starting mixture.
Open your seed packets and lightly scatter the seeds over the surface of the prepared soil. Be sure to follow the seed packet instructions and do not crowd the seeds. Gently cover the seeds with a shallow layer of mixture. Be sure to label the container with the plant name and the date of planting. Lightly water until the soil is moist.
Cover the planted containers or seedling trays with clear plastic wrap or clear plastic bags. This helps hold moisture in and speed seed germination. Place in a well-lit area and watch closely for the first sides of germination. As soon as the initial growth appears, remove the plastic.
Once the initial seed leaves disappear and the first “real” leaves appear you need to transplant the seedlings to larger containers. When the threat of frost has passed, start to harden off your plants by placing them outside during the day in the warm weather, then bring them back inside at night when the air turns cold. You will need to do this for about two weeks before your plants are ready to be transplanted into your garden.
Transplant seedlings into the garden, closely following the seed packet instructions. Water well after transplating.