Planting a vegetable garden from seed has its rewards, but seedlings are sensitive and easy prey to insects and weather. It is often easier and more productive if seeds are started in a seed starter tray, then transplanted outdoors when conditions are right for the seedlings. Doing this will ensure the best possible conditions for small seeds to sprout, without worrying about frost, pests, not enough garden sprinkler time, or too much sun for the small seedlings.

Things You’ll Need For the Seeds:

  • Seeds, of the desired flower or vegetable for the garden
  • Seed Starter Trays
  • Garden Planting Soil
  • Garden Markers, if desired
  • Pen for Marking, if desired
  • Dowel, for making holes, or use a pen or a finger
  • Fork or thin dowel, for lifting seedlings from the trays
  • Water, in a mister or in a watering can

Place the soil in the seed trays and pack very lightly to settle the dirt. Mist the dirt lightly to moisten the soil. Use a dowel to make holes for the seeds, or make a trough for the seeds if the tray is without sections. Place 1 to 2 seeds in each hole, or sprinkle the seeds lightly in each of the holes or troughs made in the soil. Alternately, if an entire patch will be grown, sprinkle the seeds lightly and evenly over the entire surface taking care not to overcrowd.

Identify each seed row, seedling planting hole, or the entire seed tray if all the seeds are the same. Cover the seeds with additional soil. Gently mist or drizzle water over the entire surface and pack lightly. Allow the seeds to grow, giving water as needed and filtered sunlight as recommended by variety.

Transplant the seeds in the garden when the first set of true leaves forms on the seedlings. Using a fork or a thin dowel, lift the individual seedlings from the trays. Alternately, if the seeds were sown in individual cups or containers, tip them over and tap out to remove them. Seedlings are fragile. Never pull out the small seedlings from the seed trays to remove them or the stems may be damaged or leaves be pulled off.

Plant directly in the garden soil and treat as recommended by variety. Make sure each seedling or seedling row is identified when planting, especially when they are first growing or if you’ve never planted them before and are unsure of which seedlings are in which row. Watch the seedlings carefully the first week to make sure the seedlings have enough water and don’t get too much sun. If the sun is very hot, protect the seeds until they are established in the garden.

Cultivate to Plate brings garden cultivation and cooking together, sharing information on gardening through garden blog updates, and following the process from growing the seed or start up plant – to plating the dish with the harvests. If you have a garden question, send Renee a note via the contact page.