Germinating seeds indoors gives your future plants a good fighting chance in their sprout forms to grow into strong plants.
Planting seeds - or sowing seeds we should say, is a simple and considered way to get new flowers and vegetables in your garden. Sowing seed indoors lets you start growing much earlier than if you were sowing seeds outside. When sowing vegetables - it's good to sow in small batches of seed every two weeks, this will give a long season of fresh vegetables throughout the summer - sometimes known as 'successional sowing'
By germinating seeds indoors, you’re able to control the conditions, start growing plants earlier in the season, saves sprouts from being killed off by a frost and help avoid the sprouts being eaten by garden pests.
You don't need a lot of fancy kit and we like to use what we have in the house - could be a spare pot, egg carton, yoghurt pots, paper roll tubes, you name it. Just make sure it can hold the compost and freely drain the water at the bottom.
maintain an even temperature for germinating seeds.
The best way to keep an even temperature for your seeds is to cover them with a clear piece of plastic or glass. You can get a decent propagator with it's own clear lid, or you'll find old freezer bags, or food packaging works just as well. Be sure to seal the sides with tape or an elastic band to keep the temperature stable.
best position for your seeds to germinate indoors.
If you can, choose a south facing window, east can work too but the window will have to be larger. Windows in other directions can make seedlings leggy. Either way you go, you should rotate your sprouts to help them grow vertically. Think about how the space is currently being used, if your cat currently sits on that windowsill, or you rely on a privacy blind to cover the window you’ll probably want to avoid it to save your sprouts from being flattened.
Find a space in your home that gets good indirect sunlight, you want your sprouts to get a really decent amount of light, but too much and you can find the soil drying out within the day, or worse your sprouts becoming burnt to a crisp.
don’t start germinating seeds too early.
We are based in London, tall buildings, lots of shade means often indoor sprouts get a minimal amount of light until mid-February. We generally go with the 10 hour day light rule (there are some exceptions!) - checking the trusty weather app, and when there is 10 hours of sunlight from sunrise to sunset you are good to go.
keep your home warm.
Seeds best germinate at a temperature of 18-24°C. So keep the heating on over the colder months or get yourself a seed matt warmer. We’ve also found using the warm top of your fridge is good for germinating your seeds.
you’re not a greenhouse.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t see miraculous germinating seeds overnight. Your conditions are different to that of a professional greenhouse and besides, every plant is different and some can take their sweet time to germinate.
Every plant is slightly different, in some cases, they do better being planted directly outside or in their pots as they don't like to be moved Be sure to check the growing guide or packet for any quirks!