After doing this for a few years, I share these top tips with friends who are just starting their fruit and vegetable gardens and want to grow a spring garden from seed. Check them out below!
1. Make sure you are starting the right seeds for the season. In general, fruit-bearing plants need warmth and plenty of sunshine to bear and ripen fruit. Use our Seasonal Planting Guide as a quick resource to determine which crops grow best in the warmer months.
2. When starting your crops from seed, you always want to check any details on the seed packet the seed company has provided. Often, seed companies will suggest if you need to sow the seeds into the ground directly or if you can start with small seedlings and transplant them later.
3. If you start your seeds in small pots or pods, keep in mind that seeds need consistent moisture and warmth to germinate (sprout). One way you can do this is to use small pots or trays with a lid that creates a mini greenhouse effect.
I have used a lot of different varieties of this in the past, and I really like the seed starting systems from Patigrow (they aren't paying me to say this), and as long as I sanitize them (they are also dishwasher safe), I'm able to use them for multiple seasons.
You can also get super creative and resourceful with starting your seedlings. I have even used mini pie tins and toilet paper rolls with water bottles.
4. Seed-starting soil is key for creating the right germination environment, especially for tiny seeds that will initially produce small sprouts that need to make their way to the surface, begin photosynthesis, and absorb energy from the sun. Some people create their own, combining ingredients such as coconut coir, moss, perlite, and vermiculite. I like to use what companies I trust have made. My favorite (once again - not being paid) is from E.B. Stone Organics.
5. Before inserting it into pots, moisten the soil to the consistency of a damp sponge. That way, you won't need to water your seed immediately, allowing it to remain where it's sown for the first 1-2 days.
6. Keep your domed (greenhouse effect) newly planted seedlings somewhere warm and sunny (through the use of artificial light or by a sunny window), and once you see sprouts, remove the dome so that those little green chlorophyll-filled leaves can absorb the rays and start the photosynthesis process.
If you're in the mood, I also created a low-budget video at the beginning of Covid that explains these points in more detail. What the video lacks in production quality makes up for in content. Plus, you'll get to see my eye candy cute dog. Click here if you want to check that out!
We've also got Growing Guides for tomatoes, cucumbers, and pumpkins. You can access those for free here!
My last tip is to use every growing experience as a learning opportunity and have fun!