After you have finished planning your garden (if you haven’t, see my post here on how to start planning your garden today) and ordered your seeds, it is time to start your seeds! In this post we are going to talk about how to start seeds indoors using grow lights. In my opinion, this is often the most successful seed starting method.
If you don’t have grow lights, see my post “How to Start Seeds Indoors Without Grow Lights”, here.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) when you make a purchase using these links. For more information, see my full disclosure here.
benefits of Starting Seeds Indoors Using Grow Lights
- Temperatures indoors tend to be more consistent than outdoors
- Since plants are inside, you are able to keep a closer eye on them
- Grow lights can help prevent leggy seedlings
- You are able to control the amount of light your seedlings receive and you are not dependent on the sunlight
What do you need to start seeds indoors with grow lights?
Below are basic seed starting supplies that are necessary to have in your seed starting set-up. I have included Amazon links below. However, you may be able to find these items locally or even online at places like Johnny’s or Morgan County Seeds.
- Seeds (Baker Creek, Johnny’s, Morgan County Seeds)
- Soil or seed starting mix (we use Berger BM2 Germinating Mix)
- Seed starting trays, containers, or soil blocker
- 1020 trays
- Humidity domes or plastic wrap
- Wire rack
- Plant markers
- Sharpie Extreme (Sharpie Extreme markers are different than regular Sharpie markers and are fade resistant)
- Heat mat (optional)
- Grow Lights (link to some on Amazon)
How to start seeds indoors using grow lights
Once you have gathered all of your supplies, it is time to set up your growing space and plant your seeds:
- First, identify and prepare a space where you will setup your seed starting setup
- Then, setup wire rack
- Hang lights from wire rack. You will want these to be a few inches from the top of the trays so you may need to adjust after your trays are in place.
- Then fill seed starting trays or containers with seed starting mix or put together your soil blocks and place into 1020 trays. These trays catch any excess water (or you can choose to fill them with water to bottom water your seedlings).
- After you have filled your trays or containers, water your seed starting trays or containers. You want to begin with moist soil.
- Using your fingers, a pencil, chopstick, or something similar, create indentations in each cell or container you will plant a seed in. Indentations should be twice as deep as your seeds are wide. If you are using soil blocks, the soil blocker should have already made your indentations for you.
- Then, carefully place seeds into indentations and gently cover with soil.
- Lastly, you will need to label the spots that you just planted in. Label the plant markers using Sharpie Extreme with the variety of seed you sewed and place labeled plant markers in appropriate location to mark seeds. Alternatively, if you plant a whole tray or container of something, you can use masking tape to label the tray or container.
Your seeds are planted! Now what?
- Now that your seeds are planted, you need to cover trays or containers with humidity domes or plastic wrap. This helps hold heat and humidity in to encourage germination.
- Next, carefully move trays or containers to your wire rack (on top of heat mats, if applicable)
- After all of this, you should check on your seedlings daily. You will want to make sure the soil stays moist throughout the germination process as too much or too little water can affect germination. Please note that different plants have different germination periods. The back of the seed packets should tell you how many days it usually takes for each specific plant/variety to germinate.
Your plants are ready to move outside! now what?
Once your plant starts are ready to move outside, you need to harden them off to ensure their success. For step by step instructions on how to harden off your plant starts see my blog post, here.