How to Propagate Vegetable Seeds


Most common vegetables are easy for the home gardener to grow and virtually all of them can be grown from seeds. The one exception are seeds from hybrid vegetables; these seeds are designed not to grow, or not to produce acceptable vegetables. Purchase seeds that were packaged for this year or collect seeds from non-hybrid vegetables and grow them the following spring. Seeds that are 2 or more years old have a very low germination rate.

Step 1

Buy or collect fresh vegetables seeds. These seeds should, ideally, be from last year's crop. If collected at home, seeds should be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container during the winter.

Step 2

Fill a growing tray with starting soil approximately four to six weeks before the date of the last frost for your area.

Step 3

Remove the seeds from your refrigerator and allow them to warm up overnight, or open the package that you have purchased. Gently press the seeds into the top of the starter mix no more than 1/4 inch unless otherwise directed by the manufacturer.

Step 4

Dust starting mix over the seeds, burying them 1/4 inch deep. Spray the tray with a misting bottle of water until the soil is damp, but not soggy.

Step 5

Place the growing tray inside a clear plastic bag and seal it. This will provide the germinating seeds with humidity.

Step 6

Place the bag-encased tray in a sunny and warm room (60 to 75 degrees F) but out of direct sunlight. Check the tray every few days and keep the soil moist but not soggy. Seeds should sprout within seven to 21 days, depending on the vegetable variety.

Step 7

Remove the plastic bag once the seeds sprout and allow the seedlings to receive at least four hours of direct sunlight per day. Once the seedlings are 3 inches tall, carefully plant outside into your garden, provided all possibility of frost has passed. Dust the new plants with organic manure, but do not fertilize heavily until the plants are at least 6 inches tall to prevent damaging young roots.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh (less than 1-year old) vegetable seeds.
  • Growing tray
  • Starting soil
  • Misting bottle
  • Large clear plastic bag


  • Ohio State University: Plant Propagation
  • You Grow Girl: A Beginner's Guide of Vegetable Seed Starting
  • Dummies: Planting Vegetables From Seeds
Keywords: propagate vegetable seeds, growing vegetable seeds, starting vegetable seeds, vegetables from seeds

About this Author

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for TV, everything from SMURFS to SPIDER-MAN.