The cost of plants from nurseries and garden centers increases each year. You can make gardening less expensive by learning how to grow a plant from seed. Seed packets are available for annual plants as well as perennials. You can also save seeds from existing plants for growing the following gardening season.
Wet the potting mix with warm water being careful not to saturate the soil. Mix the soil so there are no dry spots or large clumps of soil. Fill the growing tray with the moistened potting soil.
Read the directions for packaged seeds to determine the planting depth of the seeds. Plant seeds you have collected at a depth of three times their width. Scatter tiny seeds directly on the surface of the soil and press them in slightly, but do not cover.
Label the growing trays so you know what is planted in each container. When seeds sprout they all seem to resemble each other, making identification difficult. Cover the seed trays with plastic and set in a warm location with bright light. Use a grow light if necessary to provide adequate lighting.
Watch for germination to begin within seven to 10 days from planting. Remove the plastic and thin the seedlings to one plant per section or cell. Thin by clipping the stem of the weakest plants with a sharp pair of scissors. Pulling out the plant may damage the roots of nearby seedlings.
Grow the plants in the tray until the first two sets of true leaves appear. Transplant the seedlings into individual containers by using a spoon to lift the plants and thereby minimizing damage to the roots or delicate stems.
Water the plants daily, if necessary, to keep the soil from drying out. Pinch the tops of plants to encourage a bushier plant. When the plant has grown to a height of 6 to 8 inches, plant in the garden or in a larger container for potted plants.