How to Grow Vegetable Seeds Indoors

Follow this step-by-step guide for growing tips. 

Transfer Larger Seedlings to Cold Frame to Harden

Transfer Larger Seedlings to Cold Frame to Harden

The seedlings need to slowly adjust to the outdoors before transplanting them in garden. Over a week to two weeks let the seedlings slowly stay outside longer each evening before transplanting seedlings into the garden.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Materials Needed

  • vegetable seeds of choice
  • seed trays, modules or biodegradable pots
  • watering can
  • compost
  • greenhouse or cold frame

Step 1: Prepare the Seed Trays

Fill Seed Trays with Seed Compost and Firm Down

Fill Seed Trays with Seed Compost and Firm Down

Purchase a supply of seed trays and mini pots to use for seed starting. Commercial seed starting mixes, usually composed of vermiculite and peat, without any true soil, are recommended for the needs of germinating seeds and tiny seedlings.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Fill the trays or modules with multipurpose or seed compost, leaving a gap below the rim. Break up any large lumps, and firm it down gently to remove any air pockets.

Step 2: Water the Compost

Pour Seeds in Palm Before Sowing in Tray

Pour Seeds in Palm Before Sowing in Tray

Follow seed package directions about the depth of planting. As a rough rule, the larger the seed, the deeper it is planted. Some very small seeds are just scattered directly on the soil from the palm of the hand, and not covered up at all.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Water the compost lightly before sowing. If seeds are very fine or are mixed with sand, pour a small amount into the palm of your hand so you can easily control them as you sow. Larger seeds can be sown individually.

Step 3: Sow Seed on the Surface

Sow Seeds Thinly on Surface of Compost

Sow Seeds Thinly on Surface of Compost

Sow seeds lightly on top of the potting soil mixture. Lightly cover the seeds with a layer of compost mixture. Water the whole tray very lightly with a fine mist, so as not to redistribute the seeds.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Sow seed thinly on the surface of the compost, or if sowing in module trays, place one or two seeds in each module. Lightly cover the seeds with a thin layer of compost, depending on their size, and water lightly.

Step 4: Check the Soil Daily

Transfer Seedlings to New Trays When Ready

Transfer Seedlings to New Trays When Ready

After the seedlings have produced a second pair of leaves known as their true leaves, transplant them into a larger pot. This will provide more room for growth.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Put the tray in a warm place. Check daily to make sure the soil is most and if any seeds have germinated. Move the growing seedlings into new trays when the second pair of leaves appear.

Step 5: Replant the Seedlings

Repot Seedling Once Stronger Roots are Established

Repot Seedling Once Stronger Roots are Established

Remove seedling from the growing trays. Use a fork to remove the seedling. Gently trying to keep some soil attached to roots ease out seedlings. Place into pot and then fill around root loosely with more fresh soil till it the original soil lelel.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

As they grow, seedlings will develop a stronger root system and will be easier to handle. Push them out of their seed trays or pots from below, and replant them into larger pots filled with potting compost.

Step 6: Water the Seedlings

Transfer Larger Seedlings to Cold Frame to Harden

Transfer Larger Seedlings to Cold Frame to Harden

The seedlings need to slowly adjust to the outdoors before transplanting them in garden. Over a week to two weeks let the seedlings slowly stay outside longer each evening before transplanting seedlings into the garden.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Transfer the seedlings to a greenhouse or cold frame when they are ready to harden off. They should have 4–6 true leaves. Water them well before planting out, and try to retain as much potting compost as possible.

Step 7: Allow Plants to Harden Off

Harden Off Seedlings in Outdoor Cold Frames

Harden Off Seedlings in Outdoor Cold Frames

New plants need time to acclimate to harsh outdoor conditions. This process is called hardening off. The idea is to expose plants to the elements gradually. Increase sun exposure gradually, while keeping plants protected from cold and wind.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Move plants into a cool greenhouse or cold frame for a month, removing the lid during the day and increasing their exposure to outdoor temperatures. This process will allow the plants to be gradually acclimatized to lower temperatures before they are planted outside.

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