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How to Start a Vegetable Garden: Starting Seeds Indoors

Length: 6:33
Produced By: Steve Aitken, Danielle Sherry, Gary Junken, Kate Geruntho Frank, Cari Delahanty

So you're wondering how to start a vegetable or kitchen garden? Not to worry. Our seven-video series, "How to Start a Vegetable Garden," will help you get your first veggie venture off to a good start. We’ll cover the basics: choosing a location, preparing the soil, building raised beds, starting your seedlings, and planting your garden.

3. Starting Seeds Indoors

Starting seeds indoors is cheap and easy, and it allows you to grow vegetables that you wouldn't find in your local nursery or garden center. Most seeds can be started 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost date.

Here's what you need to start seeds:

• Containers (peat pots, jiffy pots, or recycled containers)
• Seed starting soil mix
• A light source
• A heat source (a heat mat, a heating vent, or the top of your fridge)
• Water
• Seeds
• Plastic wrap (containers should be covered so they retain moisture)
• A fan for ventilation
• Liquid fertilizer

Fill the containers to the top with seed-starting soil. Moisten the soil until it turns dark and water runs out the bottom. Check the back of the seed packet to see how deep to sow the seed. Put two to four seeds in each container and cover them with a light dusting of soil. Water the seeds in again. Then cover them with plastic to lock in moisture and heat. Finally, move your seeds to a place where they can get lots of light. A sunny window may work, or you can use an artificial light source.

As your seeds begin to sprout, remove the covering so they can get plenty of air. At this time, you may want to put a fan on them to provide air circulation. Seedlings that are too damp or that don't get good circulation are susceptible to a disease called damping off.

The four most important things to remember with seed starting are moisture, temperature, light, and ventilation.

See more videos in this series:

1. Selecting a Site
2. Testing Your Soil
3. Removing Sod and Vegetation
4. Building Raised Beds
5. Starting Seeds Indoors
6. Direct Sowing Vegetable Seeds
7. Planting Out

Learn more... 
Find links to articles, blog posts, and videos on starting vegetable and flower seeds: All About Starting Seeds 


Companion Content

10 Seed-Starting TipsHow a practiced propagator gets seedlings off to a healthy start

Jump Start Your SeedsUse these tricks to speed germination, then plant up some pots

VIDEO Seed-Starting Pre-TreatMost seeds germinate readily, but others may require a few extra steps to achieve good results