Growing seeds indoors leads to a far better chance of seedlings germinating and surviving than those that have been planted outdoors. Warmer indoor conditions mean faster germination, and the absence of snails and other predators allow the seedling to gain strength and stature before being transplanted to the great outdoors, where it must fend for itself. Planting seeds indoors also gives the home gardener more control and the ability to deal with problems as soon as they occur.
Buy a fresh packet of seeds from your local home-improvement store or garden center. You want to make sure the seeds haven't been sitting in a storeroom for months, so be sure to check the package. Most now have expiration dates, similar to those you find on food packages.
Sterilize the potting mix or vermiculite by putting it in a covered container (aluminum foil works well as a cover) and bake the soil in an oven set to 220 degrees. With a thermometer, prick a hole in the foil, or lift the cover, to take the soil temperature. The soil is done when it reaches a temperature of between 160 and 180 degrees.
Remove the baked soil from the oven and allow to cool.
Fill a small container with a layer of gravel (to improve drainage) no more than one-fourth the depth of the pot, and then fill the rest with the now-sterilized and cooled potting mix or vermiculite.
Plant the seeds at the proper depth as called for on the seed package. Generally, a finger in the dirt is all that is needed.
Drop the seeds into the hole and water thoroughly.
Move the pot to a sunny windowsill and keep the soil moist at all times. Be careful not to use too much water, however, which can promote disease.
Once the seedling germinates, make sure it gets plenty of sunlight to grow. If multiple seeds were planted and they all germinate, yank out all but the strongest one, once the seedlings reach an inch in height. Otherwise the additional seedlings will sap resources.