Garden Guide

Starting With Seeds

Every plant and tree starts small, most as a tiny seed. Within each seed is the potential to become a strong, healthy, thriving green plant.

A garden, whether flowers or vegetables and fruits, starts as a collection of these seeds. Seeds get planted in soil and watered. They receive light and air. Then something wonderful happens: they sprout into a brand new plant!

Can you think of any seeds that you would like to try growing? Maybe you like tomatoes, or peppers, or green beans.

How do we get this all started?


First, let’s find a container.

All seeds need to be started somewhere. When you are growing seeds for your own garden, there are many possibilities. There are seed starting trays that can be purchased at a garden supply store. These may be made out of plastic, or rough fibrous material like peet. More simple (and less expensive) options might be the bottom of an egg carton, some old plant trays from last year’s garden, or even some unused plastic cups. You just need something on the smaller side that can hold the soil and your seeds.


Next, we will need some dirt.

Once you have chosen a container, you will need some dirt or soil for your seeds to sprout and grow. There are also some different options here:

  • You could collect some dirt from your yard or garden last year. Make sure this is OK with your parents, though. Mom or Dad can also help you find richer, healthier soil, and determine that the soil from your yard is good and safe to use.
  • Seed starting mix can be found at garden stores, supermarkets or other stores with garden centers. If possible, “organic” seed starting mixes are best so you will not have to worry about chemicals that could cause problems.
  • If you do not have any soil you can use from outside and there is no seed starting mix, store-bought potting soil or garden soil will also likely work for most seeds.



A Few More Helpful Supplies: Have an adult help you through this list to make sure you have what you need!
  • Plant labels: plastic is better than something paper or cardboard. Once your plants start to sprout, they can be difficult to tell apart if you have not labeled them well
  • Marker: permanent markers to label your plants will prevent the writing from washing off
  • Newspaper or tablecloth: it is always fun to play in the dirt, but it can be a messy process. If you’re working on starting your seeds indoors, help keep the table or floor clean by covering your work area with some newsprint or a washable tablecloth
  • Spray bottle: this is the easiest and most gentle way to water your young, tender seedlings when they come up
  • Seeds: Now that you are ready to start, grab your seeds. It is time to start planting!


Step 1

Fill your container most of the way with the soil, dirt or seed starting mix

Step 2

Plant the seeds, following instructions on the seed packet for how deep into the soil they should be placed

Step 3

Gently water the seeds, using your spray bottle or a small measuring cup


Step 4

Place the seeds in their preferred environment, depending on the seed packet. Some want a warm, brightly lit area. Others want cooler conditions and some shade.

Step 5

Be sure to check your seedlings at least every day, and gently water to keep them moist. 


Step 6

Watch and wait! Soon you will see tiny sprouts appear!

Coming soon: Healthy Sprouts