10 Essential Seed Starting Supplies

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!

Seed tray with seed starting mix, humidity dome, and seedling labels
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.

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.

Biodegradable Pots:

These seed starting pots are biodegradable, compostable, and affordable:

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:

Seed starter kit from Hoss tools

3. Soil Blocking Tool

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. If you don’t have a space to place seed trays in front of a window or in a greenhouse for natural light, then you will need to offer supplemental light.

There are two main options for seedling grow lights. Both of the following options provide adequate light for your seeds.

Seedlings in seed trays with germination mats and grow lights | seed starting supplies

You can purchase grow lights made specifically for seed starting like these:

Seed Tray with clip on grow lights | Seed starting supplies

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.

8. Seeds

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.

Seed bank with seed packets from Hoss Tools

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. 

You can simply use masking tape and a marker or a seedling label that goes down into the cells like these.

Tomato Seedling Label | Seed Starting Supplies

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.

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