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Lawn & Garden

Starting Vegetable Seeds Indoors

Starting a garden from raw materials is becoming a lost art and a survival skill so few people know. You may not need to know it but it can save your life if you do. It is also very rewarding to be able to grow your own food and live a little more off the grid.

Growing vegetables from seeds is a far cheaper way to grow a wider variety of plants and to grow a much more productive food plot. Starting seeds inside the house will increase your gardens productivity by adding 4 to 6 weeks of harvest time.

When to Start Seeds Inside

Because all plants have different days to maturity and each demands a different soil temperature, it can be confusing as to when to start your plant. Start your warm season vegetable plants 4 to 6 week before your last frost date. Read the seed packet, as it has all the information that you will need.

Soil type

A loose peat moss based soil is ideal for starting seeds. Peat moss will allow the young fragile roots to spread through it effortlessly. You will also want to use equal parts perlite and vermiculite with the peat to insure that it holds enough oxygen and water. You will want to use a seed starting soil and NOT a potting mix. The Home Depot carries all the seed starting soils and peat pellets you need to get your project going.

Pots or containers

You can find cell packs or peat pots at your local Home Depot store specifically for growing seeds. You could even clean out that egg carton, drill some holes in it for drainage and use it to start your seeds. Seed starting trays like the Jiffy Greenhouse are great because the retain moisture and warmth for the seeds with their clear plastic dome.


At first, you can start the seeds on a table or counter, as there is not much need for natural light. Once they start to get leaves, they will need some bright indirect light and should move them onto a windowsill. Your young plants will need a comfortable room temperature between 60 and 70. Older homes with single pane windows may become too cold on colder days and therefore they may need to be moved away from any cool draft.


Mist your seeds with a water bottle daily. You will want to keep them moist but not wet. Keep the seeds covered to hold in humidity and moisture. Once your plants have leaves, uncover them and water them from below. This will increase air circulation and draw the roots deeper into the container. Do not keep plants covered or water from above once leafed out, as this causes disease.

Transition to outside

Soil temperature is one of the most important factors when planting young vegetable plants. Knowing your zone and areas, last frost date is very important. Once you have reached your last frost date you will keep track of your air and soil temperatures and want to start transitioning your plants to the outside. You will want to take your plants outside for 3 or 4 hours a day while daytime temperatures are warm. You will need to move them back inside to avoid any cool night temperatures. You will do this for a week and when the night temperatures have moved out of the 30’s then you can start transplanting.

Zones and last frost date

The USDA plant hardiness zone map is the standard for how we measure which plants are suitable for certain locations. Each zone number represents a 10-degree minimum temperature change and each plant has a minimum temperature it can tolerate.

Last frost dates differs from zone to zone. Frost dates are the average of the first and last light frost in a particular zone based on years past. It is possible to have a later frost in the spring or an earlier frost in the fall but the chances are less. Planting 2 weeks after your zones last spring frost date to lessen the chances of your young plants being hit by a late frost.

Soil temperatures

For some vegetables, soil temperature is critically important. Putting your young watermelon plants in the ground too early will dramatically slow the maturity of your plant or even kill it. Read this article on Growing Watermelon to find out how to speed up the warming process for your plants or visit our How to Grow Vegetable Library for more information on growing other vegetables.


 Other Gardening Articles:

Amending Different Soil Types

Bugs and Insects of the Vegetable Garden

Difference Between Hybrid, GMO and Heirloom Vegetables

What is Lime and Why is it Important

12 Essential Nutrients Plants Need To Stay Healthy

Using annual ryegrass as a cover crop for your garden





Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2017-12-13T15:11:15+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL
Here is a great video I saw on this on You Tube. Seed Starting Indoors
Posted 2018-01-19T06:06:15+0000  by SuzanneQ
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question