Step-by-Step Instructions For Starting Organic Seeds Indoors
For a quick inexpensive and very effective way to grow your seedlings, see my steps below.
Through the years, I’ve tested many different seed starting kits, and have found the use of Rubbermaid containers and saran wrap to be the best seed starting process for my garden.
Determine which potting soil you will use for your seedlings (see Potting Soil & Lighting).
Wet your soil. The soil needs to be moist. Pick up some dirt and squeeze. If it’s moist and stays in a ball, then it’s fine. If the ball is sopping wet and dripping out of your hand it’s too wet. If the ball crumbles, add more water to your soil. If the ball stays mostly intact, but crumbles a bit you are all set!
Put your soil in your pot. I find that using a tupperware container is best. You are able to turn it into a little green house and have the light close enough to the new seedlings as to ensure that they will not get leggy.
Fill the tupperware container half full. Then take a fork and lightly spread out the soil, making a flat surface with which to work.
For small herb seeds, just sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil. Do not cover them with dirt or they may not germinate. Often the littlest seeds also need light. Check your package to determine if they need to be covered with a very light layer of soil (or just Google it). Then water using a spray bottle.
For larger seeds like tomato or cabbage, just make a little indentation to the foil with a finger tip, no more than 1/4″ deep. Place a single seed in the indentation and sprinkle with soil. Then water using a spray bottle.
Take a piece of saran wrap and cover the container. Then secure with a rubberband. Whala! You’ve made yourself an instant greenhouse.
Place your mini-greenhouse with basil seeds directly under the fluorescent lights as close as possible. My light set-up has a metal grid to protect the bulbs. I rest the grid directly on my container. This will allow the light to heat the contents and assist in the germination process.
I typically sprinkle many basil seeds and want a lot of seedlings for the yard. This time, I only sprinkled a few seeds to demonstrate how thickly they grow as they get bigger. To the right, the seeds have germinated and the first two leaves are showing. The first two leaves are called cotyledons.
Following the first two leaves will be the first “true” leaves, which typically look like the leaves of the plant you’ve planted, which in this case is basil. To the left are the organic basil seedlings with their first “true” two leaves.
The basil has still not reached the saran wrap. I only opened the container long enough to take a picture. I will allow the basil to grow taller yet, enough to reach the saran wrap. At which point, I will slowly transition the seedlings to the temperature of the house and then transplant them.
Seedlings are now ready for transplanting.