Simple Seed Sowing Guide

cucumber seedlings

General Guidelines

  • Use clean containers.
  • Follow seed packet directions if given.
  • Use soil medium specifically for seed starting.
  • Moisten soil in preparation of planting.

Seeds are, generally, easy to grow, but there are exceptions and many that need special requirements to germinate:

  • Sprout only in dark
  • Sprout only in light
  • Need scarification
  • Need stratification


If you plan to do a lot of growing by seed, then one of your best investments will be a proper book resource. And right off the bat, I will recommend one like The New Seed-Starter’s Handbook.

If you have just a few of the most commonly grown plants to start…. read on the simple guidelines of this post.

A Greenhouse Environment

A full size greenhouse may be ideal, but I am referring here to creating a humid environment that seeds love to sprout and grow in. Covering with plastic or using glass cases like castoff Aquariums or the old Wardian Cases will keep the moisture levels high around the new sprouts.

Seed starter Kit

The important thing is not the way you create this moist environment, but that the soil mix be kept moist and not allowed to dry out.

Tools for Seeds:

  • Flats or containers
  • Watering can is helpful
  • Dibble, (or dibber) to make holes in soil and transplanting seedlings

Babying the Little Seedlings

Keep new seedlings happy with a warm  temperature of about 70°-75°.

Tenderly water, or use bottom watering for best results.

When true leavessecond set of leaves to emerge from sprouts are apparent, time to start a light feeding program. Use diluted starter fertilizer.

Four true leaves visible? Time to thin the plants so that each one has plenty of room to grow.

Transplanting Tips

Water new plants before moving.

Set new plant slightly deeper in the soil of its new home.

Be careful of tiny roots and handle by the leaves, not the fragile stem.

More seed propagation tips

Hardening Off New Plants

It’s do or die at this stage. Always my own challenge is to harden off transplants properly. Don’t rush the process.

flowernotes:Be sure the plants have the proper water during the transition from indoor plants to outdoors.

flowernotes:Use a slightly shady and sheltered spot to slowly increase tolerance of sunlight and breezes.

flowernotes:Always continue to protect from cold- delay the process during a cold snap or cold nights.

flowernotes:Slowly increase the hours that the plants are exposed. By the second or third day they should be able to stand a half day of sun. By the sixth day, a full day of sun should be fine. Keep shade lovers protected from full sun.

After this time period of little over a week, the plants should be ready to plant in the garden.

Be Wary of Critters

After planting, there are some precautions to take. Protect from cutworms by enclosing each plant in cardboard tube like those from toilet paper. Protect from slugs- a bit of diatomaceous earth or crushed eggshells may be of help.

Lots of New Plants

Hopefully this results in lots of new plants growing in your garden. Starting from seed can be the most economical way to fill the garden, and it can be a satisfying endeavor to be part of the growing process from seed to mature flowering plant.

Don’t forget that seed can be collected from many plants.