So you want to start your own seeds? Starting seeds is a great way to get a head start on the growing season and to help you move closer to food security for your family!
Seed starting isn’t all that difficult, but there is a learning curve to it.
To help with that curve, I want to share my favorite seed starting supplies with you! These supplies and tools will help to ensure that you have healthy young plants to move into your garden this spring and summer.
10 Essential Seed Starting Supplies
1. Seed Starting Containers
The first thing you will need when starting seeds is some type of seed container. There are several different container options to choose from…
Seed Starting Trays
Seed trays are plastic trays with a humidity dome. You can purchase the bottom tray by itself to put blocked soil in or to put DIY seed pots in OR you can get trays that have seed cells with them.
Reusable Seed Starter Trays:
These seedling trays are made of thick plastic that is durable enough to last from season to season!
- Hoss Tools Seed Starting Trays:
- Hoss Tools Bottom Tray
- Bootstrap Farmer Seed Starting Trays
- Bootstrap Farmer Humidity Dome
Budget Seed Starter Trays:
These trays are more affordable and they serve their purpose, but they are flimsy and typically need to be replaced each season.
Seed Starting Pots
You can set seed pots and individual cells in bottom trays instead of using cell trays if you prefer. You can purchase plastic pots, use household items, or use peat pots or pellets.
Reusable Plastic Pots:
Sturdy plastic individual seed cells can be reused in your seed starting area each year.
- Bootstrap Farmer sells sturdy individual square pots
Budget Seed Pots:
You can make affordable DIY seed pots with materials like:
- Solo cups
- Yogurt Cups
- Plastic to-go containers / tupperware
Pretty much any small plastic containers will do. Just be sure to poke holes in the bottom for drainage.
These seed starting pots are biodegradable, compostable, and affordable:
- Peat pots
- Coco Coir Pots
- Manure Pots
- Newspaper pots
- Toilet paper rolls
- Egg shells
- Cardboard egg cartons
- Paper Cups
- Jiffy Peat Pellets
These biodegradable seedling pots can be planted directly into the soil when transplanting your seedlings.
*When you place these pots into the soil, they can potentially cause stunted growth in the roots of some smaller herb seeds so keep an eye on them.
2. Seed Starter Kits
If you are just starting out, you may want to consider a seed starting supplies kit. These kits contain everything you need to grow healthy plants for your garden.
There are a wide range of options for seed starter kits, but these are my favorites:
You can forego seed cells altogether if you use a soil blocking tool. This tool allows you to make blocks of soil that stand on their own.
Plant your seeds directly into the soil blocks sitting on a bottom tray for watering and drainage.
4. Watering Supplies
A light mist spray bottle and a watering can are useful when starting seeds. Use the spray bottle to gently water the top of the soil until the seeds germinate and form a good root system.
Once the roots are established in your healthy seedlings, you can use the watering can to “bottom water” the plants.
5. Grow Lights
A good light source is a requirement for healthy seedlings. There two main options for seedling grow lights. Both of the following options provide adequate light for your seeds.
You can purchase grow lights made specifically for seed starting like these:
Or you can use fluorescent lights with T5 Bulbs like these:
6. Heat Mats
Create quality germination stations for your seeds with heat mats. Seedling heat mats gently warm the soil to promote healthy growth. Heat mats can increase the speed and rate of germination among your seedlings.
7. Seed Starting Mix
A quality growing medium is required for efficient seed starting. You will need to be sure that you are using a seed starting mix and NOT a potting soil mix.
Seed Starting mix needs to be moistened prior to being added to pots or cell packs as it can be quite hydrophobic at first.
- DIY Seed Starter Mix
- Black Gold Seed Starting Mix
- Hoss Tools Premium Seed Starting Mix
Of course you will need quality seeds before you can start seeds… I recommended growing heirloom seeds that are open pollinated so you can save seeds for next year’s garden as well.
My favorite companies to purchase heirloom seeds from are:
9. Seedling Labels
It is important to label your seedlings so you know exactly what you have planted in each cell or soil block.
10. Seed Starting Records
It is also important to keep detailed records of your seed starts. Record keeping allows you to track your germination rates, determine issues with certain seeds or seed companies, and calculate your estimated harvest dates.
I use the Indoor Seed Starting Record Sheet inside The Homestead Garden Planner. You can get a copy of this planner here.