Starting seeds indoors

The first day of Spring was officially yesterday, although outside our windows snow still gently fell, adding to the preexisting mounds.

The boys shoulders slumped when they observed our weather; they’ve been eagerly anticipating the first bike ride of the season, but it looks like we’re getting an extended winter. Usually we’re tapping the maples by now, but that, too, has been postponed until warmer days arrive.

As a way to encourage ourselves that spring will indeed come eventually, we started a few indoor seedlings. I let the boys lead on this project, which they were happy to do. Play with dirt? Yes, indeed.

 Sowing seeds | Simple Bites

Starting seeds indoors

For some plants that take a while to mature, like tomatoes and herbs, it’s a good idea to start them indoors, especially in colder climates. Our seed-starting production is very small scale, as I directly sow much of our garden, like lettuce, root crops, beans and peas.

It’s an easy afternoon project. Here’s what you’ll need if your interested in getting a jump on seedlings:

  • cardboard egg cartons
  • scissors
  • sharp knife
  • potting soil
  • seeds
  • a spray bottle or small watering can

Step 1: Cut the lid from the base of the egg carton with scissors. Turn the egg carton over poke a small drainage hole in the bottom of each section of the egg carton with a pocket knife. Set the egg carton into the lid, which acts as a tray of sorts.

Sowing seeds | Simple Bites

Step 2: Fill the egg carton with the soil and dampen it slightly. Plant the seeds (according to the package directions) into each section of the egg carton. Lightly water the seeds.

We’re already planning what to grow in our backyard vegetable garden, so I had a good idea which seeds to start indoors. The boys helped me pick, as I like to involve them in every step of the process. It keeps them interested in gardening.

Mateo picked out watermelon seeds (that will be an experiment, for sure) and Noah chose broccoli. I gathered cherry tomatoes, basil, nasturtiums, marigolds and more tomatoes. I’ve learned so much about gardening from season to season, and I’ve found that edging my raised beds with strong-smelling flowers like the marigolds and the nasturtiums is a big deterrent to small predators.

Sowing seeds | Simple Bites

Step 3: Write on popsicle sticks what you have planted and label each egg carton of seeds. Seal the seeds packages and store for another year or trade with a neighbour for different varieties.

Garden Tip: When ripping into your seed packet, cut it open at the bottom of the packet. Planting information is printed at the top of the seed packet and you will want to keep that info for future reference.

Starting seeds | Simple Bites

Step 4: Place the trays of seeds in a cool, dark place to germinate. Be sure to mist them with water daily and keep the soil damp, but not soggy. As soon as there are signs of life, move trays to a sunny spot.

Enjoy the first sign of spring. It never fails to lift the spirits.

Are you starting seeds indoors this spring? What are you growing?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. My husband has seeds started down in our basement, under florescent lights for steady growth. Yeah for spring seedlings! 🙂

  2. We’re down in the southern US, so we’re not still dealing with snow, but I loooove starting seedlings while it’s still wintery outside! (It just happens in February here instead of March 🙂 )

    I really like the idea of misting the trays with water instead of trying to gently pour a small stream without dislodging the seeds. Definitely getting a seed watering sprayer next time! Thanks!

  3. This is on today’s agenda! I picked up soil and a few seed packets and the girls are super excited about starting the garden. =)
    I’m excited about some signs of spring.

  4. I have been trying to talk myself out of a garden for the last couple days. It’s too much with a new baby, I keep thinking. But I know I will regret it if I don’t at least plant a small garden . . . so this is a timely post! Thanks for the push that I needed – your sweet boys look like they’re having so much fun, and I can’t deny my own kids that same pleasure now can I? Yep, we’ll be starting some seeds this weekend.

  5. Yes, I want to start some seeds soon! I’m ready to see some signs of life. Thanks for the inspiring how-to photos.

  6. Thank you for posting this! You are adding a bit of spring to despite the snowy day here in Montreal! 😀 Hopefully the sun will melt it all away soon and your boys will be able to ride their bikes.

  7. I love reading posts about vegetable gardening (especially organic!)! I unfortunately have an almost non-existent backyard so I can only grow a few items in raised beds that we built around the perimeter of “the yard”.
    Because my house is also tiny, I have no space to start my own, so I usually just buy seedlings from a local organic farm (tomatoes, peppers and herbs) and plant a few others from seeds, like peas and green beans.
    I can’t wait to see more of your garden later in the spring/summer!

  8. We’ll be starting on planting this week too. I do need to find a larger container with a lid for ours though as our cat will snack on them. I may plant some wheat for him so he leaves our stuff for the garden alone.

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