Growing plants from seed is a cheap method of cultivating garden vegetables and flowers. When growing indoors, starting from seed allows for quicker germination and, in some cases, earlier harvesting. Starting from seed has the added benefit of variety because more seed varieties than ready transplants are available at garden centers. Plant seeds have been bred over many generations to germinate quickly.
Sterilize your containers by washing them with hot, soapy water. Allow them to dry. Wood and plastic containers require cleaning with a diluted solution of one part bleach and 10 parts water, advises the University of Missouri Extension.
Cover holes at the bottom of the container with broken pots or with moss.
Fill the container three-fourths of the way with a store bought growing soil. Water thoroughly so the soil is moist. Level the soil using the edge of a wooden board or by running a hand trowel over it. Press down so that the soil is firmly packed but not compacted so tight that the plant will not be able to move in it.
Make shallow rows using the tip of a flat hand trowel one to two inches apart in the container. Sow the seeds into the rows. The University of Missouri Extension recommends labeling the rows.
Cover the rows with vermiculite. Water the area for germination.
Cover the pot with a clear plastic bag to retain moisture and heat. Watch daily for germination. Remove the container from the bag as soon as germination appears. Move the container toward the window. Water to keep the seeds from drying out, as this will kill them.
Transplant the seeds as soon as they develop a set of true leaves. Dig up the plant using a sharp knife or a teaspoon to avoid damaging the roots. Place the seedling in a new container. Make the hole as deep as the one dug from the original container when removing the plant.