When you live in an area with a short growing season, it's a good idea to start seeds indoors, in potting soil. By doing so, you can add weeks onto the growing time by starting outdoors with seedlings as soon as the last frost has passed. You can use clean food containers or paper cups to plant your seeds. However, ready-made peat pots are the easiest to use and cause the least amount of shock to your seedlings.
Pour commercial potting soil into your peat pots, leaving ¼ inch clear at the top. Place the peat pots into a plastic or metal tray (12 to 14 pots per tray). These pots are made of organic material and are biodegradable.
Pour a pint of water directly into the bottom of the tray. Leave the peat pots to soak up the water overnight.
Poke a hole in the center of the soil of each peat pot, to the depth recommended by the manufacturer (on the back of the packet). Each type of seed will require a different depth of sowing. The general rule is to plant the seed three times as deep as the seed is long. Gently move soil over the top of the seed hole.
Spray the tops of the seeded soil with a water mister, just to moisten. Lightly place a sheet of clear plastic wrap over the top of the peat pots. This will help to keep the soil warm.
Take the sheet of plastic wrap off the top of the pots when a green sprout pops through the soil. This is called germination. Continue to mist the top of the soil to moisten. When you pick up a pot and it feels light, add another pint of water to the tray. The seedling roots will be drawn down toward the water, anchoring the plant.
Plant your seedlings outdoors when they are between 2 and 3 inches tall and the last frost has passed. Slice down two opposite sides and make and "X" on the bottom of the peat pot. This will help the tender roots to grow out of the pot. Gently cover the hole with soil around the plant. Make sure you cover the entire pot, even the rim.