How to Raise Vegetable Seedlings


Raising vegetable seedlings means starting seeds indoors in late winter or early spring when it is still too cold outside to plant. You get a jump on the vegetable growing season when you raise seedlings. This is especially beneficial in colder climate locations where the growing season is shortened by later winter weather and earlier fall weather. Planting seedlings in the vegetable garden, opposed to seeds, adds weeks to your growing season.

Step 1

Reuse plastic food containers for seed-planting pots. Any small food container that is at least 3 inches deep can be used as a seed container. Poke a couple of nail holes in the bottom for drainage. Commercial products are also available, such as seeding trays and peat pots.

Step 2

Choose an organic commercial potting soil as the seed-planting medium. It is guaranteed to be without weed seeds or plant diseases. It is enriched with nutrients needed by vegetable seeds to grow into strong seedlings.

Step 3

Fill your planting containers with potting soil up to 1/2 inch from the top. Use the water bottle to spray the soil. Mix the moisture around to make sure it is distributed evenly.

Step 4

Poke a hole, with the end of a pencil, into the soil of each container. Different vegetable seeds require a different planting depth. Make sure you read and follow the manufacturer's recommended planting depth on the back of the seed packet.

Step 5

Put a seed in each of the soil holes and push soil over the top. Place the seed containers on a tray. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the seed containers. Put the tray by a sunny window.

Step 6

Spray the seeded soil if it becomes dry. Vegetable seeds need a moist, warm, full-sun location in order to germinate. As soon as the seeds start to sprout, or germinate, discard the plastic wrap. Continue to spray the soil as it dries.

Step 7

Harden off the seedlings when they have grown 4 or 5 inches in height and the threat of frost has passed. To do this, place the seedlings outdoors, increasing the amount of time each day, until they've spent an entire 24 hours outside. The vegetable seedlings are now ready to plant in your garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed planting containers
  • Nail
  • Potting soil
  • Spray water bottle
  • Vegetable seeds
  • Pencil
  • Tray
  • Clear plastic wrap


  • Ed Hume Seeds: Starting Seeds Indoors
  • NC State University: Starting Vegetable Seeds Indoors
  • University of Illinois Extension: Starting Vegetable Seeds Indoors
Keywords: growing seedlings, vegetable seedlings, growing seeds indoors

About this Author

Karen Ellis has been a full-time writer since 2006. She is an expert crafter, with more than 30 years of experience in knitting, chrocheting, quilting, sewing, scrapbooking and other arts. She is an expert gardener, with lifelong experience. Ellis has taken many classes in these subjects and taught classes, as well.