Want a quick cheatsheet for seed starting success? This is it. Grouping seed success tips together in easy viewing format. Followed by links to in-depth articles, if you want to know more.


  • Keep them clean and sterile.
  • Choose the type best for your needs: pots, cell packs, trays, jiffy pellets, soil blocks.
  • Ensure good drainage

Soil Medium

  • Use sterile potting soil mix for indoor seed starting.
  • Special mix for seed starting is best
  • Hoe and rake outdoor soil to a fine tilth for planting in situ.

Planting Instructions

  • Research and make notes about plant needs
  • Follow information on the seed packet; save for future use.
  • Give plants what they need: germination needs (exposure to light or period of darkness)
  • Soak and/or nick hard-coated seeds like sweet pea and morning glory.
  • Be sure the temperatures are ideal for type of seeds. Some require a cold period, others need warm soil temperature. Note this for your seeds.

List of vegetable seeds which need warm soil

  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • beans
  • melons
  • squash
  • eggplant
  • okra
  • pumpkins

Minimum Temperatures

  • 35°F: lettuce, onion, parsnip, spinach.
  • 40°F: beet, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, collards, Asian greens, Chinese cabbage, fava beans, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, arugula, radish, Swiss chard, turnip, pea, radish, rutabaga.
  • 50°F: asparagus, celery, celeriac, corn, tomato.
  • 60°F: bean, cucumber, eggplant, muskmelon, pepper, pumpkin, squash, watermelon.

Top Tips For Seedlings

  • Don’t plant seeds too deeply or in soil that’s too damp or too cold
  • Transplant using a dibble, never grab by the leaves or break the tender stem.
  • Give enough light to prevent legginess.

More Articles About Seed Starting

Primer on Annuals