How to Grow Vegetable Seeds


Many vegetable plants in the home garden are started from seed. This saves money and allows you access to a greater variety than what is found at a nursery or garden center. When starting from seed, indoor sowing is best for nearly all vegetable varieties. Controlling the conditions during germination and the early life of the seedling allows it to grow strong and resist many of the common problems that kill young plants in the garden.

Step 1

Fill seed-starting pots with a quality potting-soil mixture. Mix one part peat moss, one part sterilized compost or garden soil, and one part sand to create your own sterile mix.

Step 2

Sow two vegetable seeds per pot. Sow larger seeds to a depth twice that of their width, and sow small seeds on the soil surface then cover with 1/8 to ¼ inch of soil.

Step 3

Water the plantings until the soil is evenly moist, taking care not to disturb the seeds. Cover the pots in a plastic bag to preserve the soil moisture during germination.

Step 4

Place pots in a warm 65- to 75-Fahrenheit room to germinate. Germination takes between seven and 21 days for most vegetable varieties.

Step 5

Remove the plastic bag once sprouts appear and move the pots to a sunny window sill. Keep the soil moist at all times once the bag is removed.

Step 6

Thin the seedlings to one per pot once they produce their second set of leaves. Cut off the weaker seedling at the soil level with small scissors, or carefully pull it without disturbing the remaining strong seedling.

Step 7

Harden off the seedlings before transplanting outdoors. Place outside for two hours on the first day. Gradually increase the time spent outdoors over the course of one to two weeks until the plants spend an entire day outside at the end of the hardening-off period.

Tips and Warnings

  • If using containers that are not plant pots, such as yogurt tubs, poke drainage holes in the bottom or they will hold too much moisture. Some plants, such as beans and peas, must be direct sowed in the garden as they don't transplant well.

Things You'll Need

  • Pots
  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • Sand
  • Plastic bags
  • Scissors


  • University of Illinois Extension
Keywords: growing vegetable seeds, starting seeds indoors, seedling transplants

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.