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How to Start Seeds Indoors

How to Start Seeds Indoors

Outdoor raised bed in backyard

Itching to get started on your vegetable garden? Learn how to start seeds indoors while it’s still snowy outside with these indoor garden tips.

USDA plant hardiness zone map
Find your area and it will show you what zone you're in. Photograph courtesy of the USDA

When To Start Seeds Indoors

Each species will have different timing for starting seeds indoors, most of which depends on the last frost date. Check here for a handy list of the last expected frost date in your area with your zip code. Or, if you have a chart of when to start seeds based on their hardiness zone, you can refer to the chart above.

Make sure you have a garden plan for what you want to plant and where it will go once you transplant it outside. Then you can plan to start seeds indoors accordingly.

Start seeds indoors on windowsill
You can grow seeds indoors on a windowsill in small containers. Photograph by iStock.


Start seeds indoors in a container large enough for the seedlings you’ll transplant into the garden weeks later. Cover the container with plastic to keep the seeds from drying out until they germinate. Once the seeds start to sprout, remove the plastic covering and move the container to an area that will get plenty of sunlight. You could also use a plant lamp.

Vintage books and greenery on mantel
Even if you don't have much space, you can have an outdoor garden and start seeds indoors early. Photograph by Stan Fadyukhin

Hardening Off

Before you transplant the seedlings outside, you’ll want to harden them off so they grow used to the outdoor climate and aren’t shocked when you transplant them. A week before you transplant, move the container out into the yard for 2–3 hours in a protected area. As the week progresses, increase the seedlings’ exposure to the weather and cold. Also decrease the amount you’re watering, though don’t let the soil dry out completely. At the end of the week, transplant the seedlings into the soil of your garden.

Ready to start a garden? Check out these cute chicken coops to keep your feathered friends both comfortable and stylish! Of course, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest to get your daily dose of farmhouse inspiration!

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