Though gardeners can purchase plants as mature specimens or seedlings from garden stores and nurseries, growing plants from seed is often much cheaper. Most popular plants can be grown from seeds, including many vegetable, flower and ornamental shrub species. Provide your seeds with the conditions they need and they'll sprout and grow into lush and healthy plants.
Wait for the weather to warm up sufficiently for seed germination. Though this varies by plant species, most seeds germinate at a minimum of 65 degrees F, according to North Carolina State University Extension (NCSUE). If you're sowing the seeds in pots for future transplanting, start them approximately four weeks before the last frost date in your region.
Prepare the gardening space. If you're growing seeds in pots, fill the pot with potting medium within 3/4 inch of the pot's rim, according to NCSUE. If growing seeds directly in the ground, loosen the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, then mix in a couple inches of aged compost, advises Delaware Cooperative Extension.
Plant the seeds according to species-specific guidelines on planting depth and plant spacing found on the back of the seed packet. Generally, seeds are planted twice as deep as their width, according to the Delaware Cooperative Extension. Very fine seeds, like those of many wildflowers, are typically dusted onto the soil surface, according to NCSUE.
Water the seeds. Apply enough water to the soil so that the dirt is moist to a depth of 2 inches. Water twice daily, or as needed to keep the soil consistently moist.
Fertilize the seedlings shortly after germination to provide the plants with a nutritional boost to help ensure proper development and growth. NCSUE recommends using any general water-soluble garden fertilizer (e.g. a 10-10-10 all-purpose solution) at a quarter the recommended rate listed on the specific product's label.