Starting seeds indoors is a great way to try plant varieties that may be unavailable at your local garden center. Not only is it cheaper than purchasing plants, but there’s something very rewarding about planting seeds and watching them grow!

A soil-less seed starting mix or packaged potting soil is the best growing medium. Any clean container that allows for drainage will work. Generally, smaller seeds call for shallow planting, while larger seeds should be planted a bit deeper.

Of course light is an essential ingredient. A bright location with southern exposure will work, but you’ll get better results suspending a fluorescent or grow light fixture above your seedlings. If you notice seedlings reaching for light, turn them so they’ll develop evenly.

Be sure to water regularly. A seed germinates just once, and if the emerging seedling is deprived of water, it dies. The goal is to keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged.

You can check the back of the seed packet to find out the best time to start seeds so that they’re ready to plant outdoors when soil and air temperatures are right. In general, the range is from four to eight weeks between seed sowing and outdoor planting. It’s a good idea to introduce seedlings gradually to cool outdoor spring temperatures so they can harden off before transplanting.

Not sure what plants to grow from seed? Try some of those listed below, all of which germinate easily and grow quickly. Have fun!

  • Beans
  • Cosmos
  • Cucumbers
  • Peas
  • Pumpkins
  • Radishes
  • Squash
  • Sunflowers
  • Zinnias