Top 10 Tips for Starting Seeds Indoors
Starting seedlings indoors can be a great way to get a head start on your garden and ensure healthy, robust plants. The first thing you must do is read the instructions on the seed packet carefully and follow the recommended planting depth and spacing. Different plants have different requirements, and planting them too deep or too close together can affect their growth and development. With the right care and attention, your seedlings should grow strong and healthy, ready for transplanting into your garden or container. Follow our Top 10 Tips below and get growing!
Use seed starting trays or pots with drainage holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain away.
Use a high-quality seed starting mix that is lightweight and has good water retention. Avoid using garden soil, as it may contain pathogens that can harm seedlings.
Make sure you label each container with the name of the plant and the date you planted the seeds. This will help you keep track of what you've planted and when.
Seedlings need lots of light to grow, so make sure you have a good source of light, such as an efficient LED grow light with a PPFD of 50-150 over the plant canopy. Keep the lights on for 12-16 hours per day to achieve an average DLI of 3-6 (try our DLI Calculator here). Choosing a light designed with the right light output and spectrum for seedlings will make a big difference in your germination rate success.
Most seeds need warm temperatures to germinate, so keep your seedlings in a warm spot, ideally between 65-75°F (18-24°C).
Water your seedlings regularly, but be careful not to overwater. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy in order to prevent damping off (a fungal disease that can kill seedlings).
To prevent disease, ensure good air circulation around your seedlings. A small fan can help with this.
Seedlings don't need much fertilizer, but you can use a diluted solution of a balanced fertilizer once the first true leaves appear.
About a week before transplanting outdoors, gradually acclimate your seedlings by placing them outside for a few hours each day.
Consult a planting calendar for your region to determine the best time to start your seeds indoors and when to transplant them outside.