How to Use Seed Starter


Even though garden plants require rich organic soil to grow, when it comes to starting seeds, seed starter provides a better alternative. Seed starter provides a sterile environment free of the disease carrying organisms often found in garden soil. This lightweight porous mixture creates the perfect setting for germinating seeds, as it is well aerated. allowing adequate oxygen to reach young roots. Typically composed of peat moss, perlite and vermiculite, seed starter may contain trace amounts of fertilizer as well.

Step 1

Pour seed starter in a large bucket or bin. Measure the amount of seed starter you intend to use right away and wet it thoroughly. Using a sprayer produces the best results, but adding water by hand is fine.

Step 2

Add enough water to moisten the seed starter and stir with a large spoon. Dry seed starter is light and fluffy and may resist water initially. Work the starter until all sections are damp. Seed starter should form a ball when squeezed in your hand, but should crumble easily if touched.

Step 3

Fill seed starting trays, cells, flats or individual pots with seed starter. Level the mixture with the top of the cells to allow for settling when more water is applied.

Step 4

Poke a hole in the starter with the point of the pencil and plants seeds to the recommended depth. You can find this information on the seed packet. Cover the seed and firm lightly with your hands.

Step 5

Mist with a spray bottle to moisten the seeds. Cover with plastic and place in a warm area to germinate seeds. Check daily for emerging seedlings and keep the soil evenly moist, but avoid soggy soil.

Step 6

Move seedlings to a sunny location. Check daily and water whenever the soil dries slightly. Seedlings typically require daily watering.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed starter
  • Bowl or bucket
  • Large spoon
  • Water
  • Seed starting trays (flats, cells, pots)
  • Pencil
  • Spray bottle


  • North Dakota State University Extension: How to Succeed at Seed Starting
  • University of Alabama Extension: Seed Starting and Transplanting
  • Cornell Extension: Starting Plants and Seeds

Who Can Help

  • Iowa State University Extension: Supplies for Starting Seeds Inside
  • Oregon State University Extension: Save Money by Making Your Own Seed Starting Soil
Keywords: use seed starter, seed starter use, seed starter composition, planting seeds

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.