Planting from seed opens up a whole new world of possibilities to the home gardener. Seed varieties are much more extensive than the plants at your general garden center. Planting from seed also means you can start your planting earlier in the year by starting the seeds indoors, then transplanting outside once the weather warms. Starting from seed takes a few days and is simple to do.
Place your soil into a oven-proof container and cover it with a piece of foil. Stick an oven thermometer into the foil. Place the container into an oven heated to 200 to 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat the soil to 160 to 180 degrees F and remove it from the oven and allow to cool. This sterilizes the soil and ensures your potting media is disease free, says Purdue University.
Choose high-grade seeds according to when they would normally be planted outdoors. Do not use leftover seeds form a previous season, as they have less chance of germination, says the University of Minnesota Extension.
Fill your seed tray three-quarters full and moisten it. Place your seed in the mixture according to its recommended planting depth and cover in soil. Moisten the mixture with a spray bottle or place the container in a thin layer of warm water in a plate and allow the potting mixture to absorb it, suggests the University of Missouri Extension.
Place the tray in a clear plastic bag and place it in a warm location out of direct sunlight. Keep the tray in a temperature range between 65 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Open the bag daily for air circulation.
Remove the bag once the seeds have begun germinating. Plants are ready to transfer after they are a few inches in height.