If you live in a warm, Southern location, you can start plant seeds directly into the outdoor soil. However, many places have short growing seasons. This means that many varieties of flowers and vegetables would not have enough time to reach maturity if you waited until the temperatures were warm enough for seed germination (sprouts come out of the soil). In these cooler climates, seeds must be started indoors, while the temperatures are still frigid outside. When the climate is finally warm enough, these plants have grown into seedlings with a month or two of growth.
Fill small containers with potting soil, to ½ inch from the top. You may purchase peat pots or commercial seeding trays to start plant seeds. However, you may also use used and cleaned food containers or paper cups.
Spay water onto the soil and stir it within the container. Do not spray so much water that the soil is sopping. It should be just moist.
Plant the seeds according to the manufacturers suggestion for depth on the back of the packet. Each type of seed is different. Usually the larger the seed, the deeper it is planted. Make a hole with the eraser side of a pencil, into the soil. Drop the seed in and cover it, gently, with soil.
Mark, on the container, what plant is seeded inside. You will be glad you did this, when you go to plant the seedlings later. Cover the seed containers with a sheet of plastic wrap, lightly. Do not seal it. This will keep heat in the soil, while still allowing air flow. After the seeds have germinated, remove the plastic wrap.
Place all of the seeded containers into a larger, low container, such as a tray. Set the tray by a window that gets sun for a major part of the day, in a warm room. A south window is best. It assures that the seeds will get sun for most of the day.
Continue to spray the soil daily, unless it is still damp from the day before. Continue to water the containers in this manner, even after the seeds have germinated. In four to 12 weeks, depending on the seed variety, you will have 1- to 2-inch seedlings to plant in your garden.