Getting started with growing food from seed can be intimidating, but I’m here to assure you that you can do it! The first and most important step is gathering all your supplies. So I made this list of must have seed starting supplies to get you started.
1. Germinating Mix
I recommend you buy your germ mix locally or make your own. Shipping for a large quantity of mix gets expensive quickly! Here’s a link to a good seed starting mix on Amazon.com, but it is a small volume. If you are starting less than 2 dozen seeds, this volume of mix should be enough.
For tips on making your own mix, get my seed starting for beginners ebook here.
2. Seedling Trays with Clear Dome Lid
There is really no need to buy trays for starting seeds. You can start your seeds in anything that can hold germ mix. I like using seedling trays that include clear dome lids. The lids are really helpful for trapping heat and moisture for the best germination rate.
Check out my post about upcycled seed starting pots.
3. Heat Mat and Thermometer
Utilizing a seedling heat mat and attached thermometer will greatly improve your germination rate. It’s not a big investment in terms of money. It does take up a bit of space, but this heat mat and thermometer set require less than 3 square feet of space and costs under $30.
Use my Garden Planning Spreadsheets to help you keep track of your germination rate.
My favorite place to get seeds is my garden. Seed saving is an excellent way to cultivate varieties that will perform best in your garden. But if you’re just getting started, get heirloom seeds from Seeds for Generations, Baker Creek, and both heirloom and hybrid varieties at Johnny’s.
Don’t worry about having cute labels at this point, just make sure you have something to note what you planted. I like these plain white labels in packs of 1000 for under $7.
I also LOVE this idea for using aluminum tape!
I recommend adjustable wire shelving for seed starting. The adjustable height allows you to customize your set up, and the wire shelving is easy to hang lights. The smaller sizes are not very expensive starting at under $25.
You don’t need to invest in a fancy grow light to start seedlings. In fact, a simple fluorescent light with bright white bulb will work just fine. I do think these light hangers are worth the investment. They are super simple to install and adjust.
In my ebook, Seed Starting For Beginners, you’ll get an in depth discussion of how to use these items to get your seeds started. It covers everything you need to know to grow your food from seed. I cover how to plant your seeds, how to keep them healthy, the two most important factors in germination, and what to do after your seedlings have sprouted.
Use the book in conjunction with the Garden Planning Spreadsheets to get your timing right. The spreadsheets will tell you the exact date you need to start your seeds indoors, when to direct seed your garden, how many plants you need and how much space to allow for them. Plus, keep a detailed garden journal with germination rates, and notes about production and flavor.