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  • Writer's pictureMatt Suprunowicz

How to Start a Seed Indoors!

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Why do we start some seeds inside, and how do we do it?


This Lesson Plan is part of the Home and Gardening modules of SustainEd Farms' virtual programming.

Learning Objectives: Starting a Seed Indoors

Students will be able to…

  • Interpret the different elements of a seed packet

  • Use those factors to decide which seeds to sow and when/how to start a seed indoors

  • Sow their own seeds for indoor care

Academic Vocabulary

seed /sēd/ noun. - The part of a flowering plant capable of developing into the next generation of that plant species.


1. Gather your materials. You will need: seeds, potting soil, a seed tray or other planting devices (see video), water, a trowel (your hands will work too!)

💭Stop and think… about these questions when selecting your seed packet, and locate the information on the seed packet itself. This will help you determine what you should plant and when.

  • When is the last frost in my area, and how long should this plant remain indoors before the last frost?

    • Is my plant frost-sensitive or frost tolerant?

    • Does my plant need full sun, or can it survive well in shade?

    • Is my plant a warm season or cool season plant?

  • Are these seeds organic? Using such seeds ensures that they were not treated with chemicals and that they were taken from plants that were grown through organic methods (using natural pest resistance, improving soil fertility, sequestering carbon, etc.).

  • How long does it take my plant to emerge from the soil?

2. Watch the following SustainEd Farms instructional video on YouTube. After gathering your materials and watching the video, you are ready to start your seeds!

3. Using your trowel or your hands, grab some soil and fill your seed tray to the top.

4. Locate the seed planting depth on the back of your seed packet. Usually, this depth will be somewhere between surface level (a gentle “press” into the soil) to 1 inch below the surface. Use this guide for help! After locating your depth, use your pinky finger to punch holes into the soil surface at the recommended depth (use a ruler to check if you are not sure about your hole depth).

5. Open your seed packet, and empty several seeds into your palm. Place 2-3 seeds in each hole. Usually, seed manufacturers guarantee a high rate of germination if the seeds are used within a year of their purchase, but planting 2 or 3 seeds all but ensures you will have something grow if you take good care of your seed after it is sown. Gently cover each hole with the surrounding soil.

6. Spray the soil with a water sprayer until the surface of the soil begins to “pool” just slightly. When the surface begins to glisten, you’ve probably sprayed enough water.

7. Cover your seed tray with a seed tray cover, if you have one. If you don't have a seed tray cover, that's fine: continue to monitor your seedlings, watering them more often if necessary if they lose moisture quickly (if the surface of the soil does not stay wet for more than a few minutes).

8. Place your seed tray in a sunny area in your house or under grow lights if you have them. Make sure to water your seed tray at least once a day!

Additional Resources:

Download the PDF version of this lesson plan:

How to Start Seeds Indoors
Download PDF • 394KB

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