Starting Seeds for Garden Flowers

In this post, I will show you how I am starting seeds indoors in the spring to grow flowers in the garden during the summer. Our growing season in the northeast is short so I try to plant at least some seeds indoors to give them a head start.

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If you are new to this blog: Welcome! My name is Anna and I share information on collecting antique/vintage items, refurbishing furniture and making small crafts/projects. I also like share information about gardening. The purpose of this blog is to share with you how to use creativity and antiques to make your home beautiful. In addition to information here on the blog, you can also follow me on the following social media accounts InstagramFacebook or Pinterest.

March in Upstate New York

Apparently, we had such a mild winter in upstate New York that Mother Nature decided to remind us that she is still around. In late March, we received at least 14 inches of snow and the temperatures dropped to the teens. Our dogs were not that keen on going outside. Truth be told, I wasn’t that keen on going outside. Nonetheless, driveways needed to be cleared and paths had to be shoveled.

All this snow and cold made me long for warmer days. So, I thought, well heck – this is a good time to start my seeds for the garden. Planting seeds always helps remind me of the bounty and warmth of summer days in the not too distant future. Although, only half of my seedlings ever really succeed, I still feel a sense of pride when they bloom in the garden.

Starting Seeds for Garden Flowers

There are a variety of reasons to grow flowers from seed. First, it is much more cost effective than buying small plants from the garden nursery. Second, you can grow varieties that are not available at the garden nursery. Having said that you do need to get some specific supplies in order for your seeds to grow successfully.

Supplies

First, a little disclaimer. I do not have a seed growing station and grow lights. At this time, I don’t even have room for that type of setup in my home. However, I do have a small table near our sliding glass doors which gets a healthy amount of sunshine. I also found some seed starting trays that come equipped with LED grow lights. This is the first time I have tried to grow plants from seeds using these little kits and they are affordable with a set of 4 starting trays costing about $16. Having some type of grow light is important if you want your seeds to grow successfully. Without additional light, the seedlings become long, leggy and weak.

These are the supplies that I used for planting my seeds. These supplies will work whether you plant flowers or vegetables. Where possible, I provided links to online resources.

I decided to plant seeds that I had ordered from Floret because these are varieties that are not sold at my local nursery. I love the idea of growing Zinnias in soft pastel colors. Our last frost date is usually the middle of May. Sometimes, if the weather looks promising, I push my luck and set the seedlings out a couple of weeks earlier. By starting seeds now, I will have plants that are 6 weeks old by the middle of May.

Before planting your seeds, make sure all your supplies are readily available.

Combine Seed Starting Mixture with Water

The first step is to combine the seed starting mixture with some water. This seed mixture will be dusty and dry so adding water now helps to ensure the soil is well hydrated. I used a plastic tub and my garden trowel to mix the soil and water. Add just enough water so that the mixture is clumping together.

Fill Seed Trays

Once your seed starting mixture has been combined with water, you can fill your seed trays. It’s best to over fill the trays with soil and then gently drop the trays on the table so the soil settles into each compartment.

Overfill each seed tray with soil

Once you have the soil in the seed tray, write out the names of the seeds on plastic labels. This will help to ensure you remember what you planted in each tray.

Write the seed variety on a plastic label

Using the end of a pen, gently poke a hole into each seed compartment.

Poke a hole into the soil in each seed compartment

Then drop one seed into the hole in each compartment. Sometimes, this requires patience as you gently tap one seed out of the seed packet. Once you have added your seeds gently cover them with soil and add some vermiculite. If you have teeny tiny seeds, then don’t cover them with soil. Instead just cover them with vermiculite. Vermiculite helps to retain moisture and gives the seeds added nutrition.

Add Vermiculite to the top of the seed trays

Set up the Heat Mat

The seedling heat mat that I purchased was $31 and will be used again next year. Roll out your heat mat and plug it in. The heat will help your seeds to germinate by keeping the soil warm. Mine is set to 70 degrees. Then place the seed trays on the mat. I found that one 20 inch by 10 inch mat held four seed trays. Most seeds germinate within 7 days.

At this point, I covered the seeds with the clear plastic lids to help keep the humidity high, which also helps the seeds to germinate.

Seed trays with LED grow lights

Then I inserted the LED light disks into each of the lids, plugged them in and turned them on. Each kit has four light disks connected to one plug. An added bonus is that you can rotate the light disks to allow for more air flow into the containers. The lights also come with built in timers which is a nice feature.

Summary

From start to finish, this process took less than 2 hours. An added bonus is that most of the supplies can be reused next year, this includes the heating mat and the seed starting kits.

Fingers crossed that my seeds germinate and turn into flowers! As I said earlier, my success rate is around 50%. Still, every time I plant seeds, I learn something new. Every year is new opportunity to be more successful. Below are flowers from the garden last year I harvested before we got our first frost.

Starting seeds for Garden Flowers

I had good luck growing Cosmos and Sunflowers. If you look closely, you can see a Zinnia or two.

Starting Seeds for Garden Flowers

Thank you for stopping by the blog today! Happy planting and growing.

Anna Signature Block

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5 Comments

  1. Your mixed flower bouquet buckets are breathtaking beautiful. Fingers crossed for your little seed babies! Try hard little seeds, try hard!

  2. I’ve always wanted to learn how to grow flowers from seeds, Anna, so I am super excited about this post. Mine are either too wet or too dry so I know I definitely need to work on that. Your bouquets turned out so beautifully. You know those pops of pink get me every time. Can’t wait to use this post as a resource. Big hugs and happy gardening, CoCo

  3. I have never tried to grow flowers from seeds so thanks for the inspiration! I want to be a gardener, but I have never made it a priority! I’m going to try planting some perennials this year! Good luck with your flowers!

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