Sprouting seeds indoors

Hi, everyone. I have been growing some of my own food in an outdoor garden since 2011 , but this year, I decided I want to sprout my seeds indoors under lights. I have a sprouting tray, a grow light fixture, grow light bulb, old egg cartons, and seeds to start. I know I need to sprout the seeds 6 weeks before the last frost (April 10th by the Farmer’s Almanac). I usually wait for a few days at least after that, as we have been known to get surprise frosts. What kind of soil do I use for starting seeds indoors like this? Do you have any other hints to help out an indoor sprouting newbie?

I would love to just put the trays near a window instead of under grow lights, but my furball cats love to dig in the dirt and would destroy them.

Thanks in advance.

I used organic potting soil and the seedlings grew just fine. It’s easy to over water your seedlings, a moisture meter is very helpful, plus a small fan for air circulation to prevent mold and leggy plants. Good luck!

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Thank you! I have read so much conflicting information out there. I have heard some people say you need “seed sprouting mix”. But I thought that was bogus, because I sprout seeds in the ground without sprouting mix. It was probably just an advertising campaign, right? I will put the moisture meter on my shopping list, and also a lighting timer, as my seeds will be in the garage where I don’t go very much. Thanks for your help! :smiley:

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I planted my first bunch of seeds for sprouting indoors about 1 1/2 weeks ago. I set up a lighting timer so that the light is only on about 6 hours a day. I am using a grow light bulb plugged into a cheap light fixture I bought at Home Depot. I used the Jiffy pot type pods that you add water to and later add seeds. I put plastic wrap over it and I also put a lizard warmed under the container. Apparently, I forgot to turn on the fixture and it took a couple of days to figure that out. :crazy_face: Anyway, I got it turned out. My arugula is sprouting. I am sure the lettuce, chard, and spinach are not far behind. Today, I planted carrots, parsley, basil, oregano, and thyme.

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Starting my own seeds this year as the plant nurseries are probably going to be closed at the start of our gardening season.

Once the seeds are started indoors, they may need to be ‘hardened’ before they can go live outside in the garden. They’ll possibly want about a week in a sheltered outside space where they can learn about wind and sun before they go out into the proper garden. It’s good to baby them a little - make sure their roots remain moist and such - since, after all, they are still babies.

Someone gave me a couple of tomato and pepper starts last week and they were growing inside under what looks like not quite enough light since they were pretty long and leggy. They’ve been outside for a week in a semi-shaded and not very windy spot and are starting to look better now. Half the tomatoes will go into the garden here and the other half of the tomatoes and the peppers (jalapeño!!) will go live next door.

It’s always good to use Open Pollinated or Heirloom seeds so you can save seeds from your crops to plant again for the next season. It’s also always good to share with a neighbor so if something happens to your plants you can get seeds back from them to start over next season.

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