Whether you are growing vegetables or ornamental plants, starting the plants from seed is less expensive than purchasing plants from a nursery. The type of plants available at nurseries is also limited to only the most popular, so starting from seed gives you a greater choice in variety. While specific instructions for seed planting are usually on the seed envelope, most seeds have similar requirements. Start the seeds indoors in pots so that the young plants are protected from pests and cold weather.
Check the seed packet to see if the plant variety requires scarification to weaken the seed coat and speed germination. If required, soak seeds in a bowl of warm water overnight prior to planting or scratch the seed coat with a piece of sandpaper. Morning glory is one type of seed that requires this treatment.
Fill a 3-inch-diameter pot with a moist potting mix. Use seed pots or recycled containers, such as yogurt cups. Poke one to two holes in the bottom of any recycled containers to provide drainage.
Sow one to two seeds in each pot. Plant seeds to a depth that equals twice the seed's diameter. Plant very small seeds, such as lettuce, directly on the soil surface then cover with 1/4 inch of soil.
Cover the pot with a plastic bag, which retains the moisture in the soil during germination. Set the pot in a warm room until sprouts appear. Most seeds germinate within seven to 28 days.
Remove the plastic bag once seedlings appear. Move the pot to a warm, sunny windowsill and water as needed to keep the soil moist but not soggy.