Seed-starting tips: How to start seeds indoors

Get a head start on this summer's garden by starting seeds indoors. Here are some tips.

How to grow seeds indoors
1. Perfect your timing
Don’t start too early! Check each seed packet to learn how far ahead of the last frost date to sow, then count back accordingly.

2. Treat them right
Check the packet again, and, if instructed, aid germination by soaking, pre-chilling or scarifying (abrading the outer shells with sandpaper or slitting with a sharp knife) the seeds.

3. Keep it clean
If reusing, sterilize the seed trays and pots with a weak bleach solution and always use sterile soil. If using your own soil instead of a commercial mix, spread it in a shallow pan and set in a 180 C (350 F) oven for 30 minutes to sterilize it.

4. Pick a good growing site
One of the best spots for your seed trays is on top of your fridge. Why? The heat generated keeping your fridge cool warms the soil and speeds germination.

5. Just grow what you need
Starting your own seeds is an inexpensive way to create your own plants, but only if you need them. So, if you want only two tomato plants, don't plant an entire pack (unless you have a friend to share them with).

Read more:
Gardening jobs for winter
5 healthy herbs: It's easy to grow them

This story was originally titled "Frankie's Fab 5 Seed-Starting Tips,"  in the March 2008 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue! 

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