How to Plant Heirloom Garden Seeds

Overview

Heirloom seeds are different from commercially grown seeds because heirloom seed varieties have been passed down for generations through the planting and collection of seeds without hybridization. With heirloom seeds, you could literally be eating the same type of tomato your ancestors enjoyed. Whether you are planting an annual flower garden, a culinary herb garden, or a vegetable garden, you'll want to plant heirloom garden seeds the same as any other seeds. Follow the specific information provided for the type of plant you are growing and you'll be enjoying your heirloom garden in no time.

Step 1

Start indoors four to six weeks before the frost-free date for your area, or outdoors once your frost free date has passed. For starting indoors, fill seed trays with soil and place in a sunny window or under an artificial grow light.

Step 2

Sow seeds into the ground or the soil of your seed trays following the directions on your seed packet for how many seeds to plant in each hole and how deep the seeds need to be planted.

Step 3

Water the seeds to moisten the soil being careful not to overwater or the soil might dry and harden over the seeds, capturing them inside. Water again whenever needed to maintain an even moistness around the seeds and young roots.

Step 4

Cover the seed trays to keep moisture from evaporating into your home. To give your outdoor seeds a cover, use clean spaghetti sauce jars or cut the bottoms off of plastic milk jugs and set over the seedlings.

Step 5

Check your seeds daily to look for germination and watch over the seedlings, removing the cover once they have sprouted and reached four to six inches tall.

Step 6

Plant out seedlings that you began indoors after your frost-free date. Continue to water as needed for the first month until your transplants have established their root system.

Tips and Warnings

  • Regular, daily observation is the best way to ensure you meet your seedlings' needs. If you neglect your seedlings during their first few months of growth, don't be surprised if you have poor results.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed trays with lids
  • Seed starting mix or potting soil
  • Water
  • Jars or milk jugs
  • Scissors or knife

References

  • Gardening with Heirloom Seeds; Lynn Coulter; 2006

Who Can Help

  • Harvesting Your Own Heirloom Seeds
  • Seed Savers Exchange, an Heirloom Seed Supplier
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About this Author

Writing from Virginia, Margaret Telsch-Williams specializes in personal finance, money management, gardening, crafts and sewing, cooking, DIY projects and travel. When not writing instructional articles online, she works for the website Widescreen Warrior as a contributor and podcast co-host discussing all things film and entertainment. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and a master's degree in writing.