Growing plants from seeds is less expensive than purchasing nursery-grown seedlings. You also have access to a greater variety of plants with seeds than you do with seedlings, giving you the opportunity to try different varieties in your garden. Start seeds in spring either indoors in pots or outdoors directly in the bed, depending on the requirements for the specific plant and your local climate. Many flowers and vegetables benefit from indoor spring sowing as it gives them a jump-start on the growing season.
Prepare garden beds for outdoor spring planting after the ground has thawed. Remove any weeds and garden debris. Choose beds in full to partial sun that are well-draining. Work in a 3-inch layer of compost to raise the bed and improve drainage and soil nutrients.
Wash seed pots in a solution of 1-part bleach to 10-parts water and rinse well for indoor spring sowing 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Fill the pots with potting soil mix to within 1 inch of the rim.
Sow seeds to a depth twice that of their diameter in both pots and beds. Sow small, fine seeds directly on the soil surface and cover with a 1/4-inch layer of soil. Space seeds as recommended on the seed package.
Water freshly planted seeds until water runs from the drainage holes or until the soil is evenly moist to a 3-inch depth. Cover outdoor beds in a 2-inch layer of organic mulch and place pots inside plastic bags.
Place bagged pots in a warm room to germinate, at approximately 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Outdoor- and indoor-planted seeds germinate within 7 to 14 days or when indicated on the seed envelopes.
Remove bags once seedlings emerge from the soil and move pots to a sunny windowsill or place under grow lights. Water both indoor and outdoor seedlings as needed to keep the soil moist but not soaking wet.