8 ways to start seedlings indoors

8 ways to start seedlings indoors

It never fails.

Every year…EVERY YEAR, I vow I won’t plant things outside until after Mother’s Day. That’s the conventional wisdom on when we can safely plant outdoors here in Colorado. I know this, I really do.

And then we get a string of gorgeous 70 and 80° days in April…and I get suckered into putting something in the ground. And of course the minute I do, it snows.

Colorado, you break my heart.

This year will be better. This year, I will listen. This year, I will do it right. Probably.

Also – while the above is mostly true, there are a few cold-weather plants you can actually get started before that, like lettuce and spinach and onions. I really like this calendar because it has dates for when you can plant a lot of popular veggies to get your garden started. And I always get excited in June when my garden is already thriving and I have lettuce to eat.

In the meantime, you can start seedlings indoors so they’re ready to go when it does warm up. It’s a fun project, you get green things inside your house, and you can sometimes find seed varieties you can’t find as plants at the garden store. You can even save seeds from vegetables you’re eating now to replant. My only warning – if you should happen to have a nosy two-year old, keep your giant seed tray high, high out of their reach. You may not think they have the gall to dump an entire tray of dirt and seeds all over your basement floor and then play in it and build dirt castles out of it, but they do. Oh, they do.

indoor seedlings

8 Indoor Seedling Ideas

If you do want to start seedlings indoors, here are eight ways to do it. You could pick one of these and have a fun afternoon with the kids, making containers and planting seeds.


1.) Egg carton seedings from BabyCenter – full disclosure: I wrote this for BabyCenter. This is one of the easiest ways to start seeds, and you can plop the entire thing right in the ground when it’s time.

2.) Egg seedlings from Squawk Fox – I think this method is a little more of a pain than just planting the seeds in the cardboard carton, but if you get your eggs in a different kind of carton you could try this. You can also write the type of seed right on the egg, so that’s convenient.

3.) Toilet paper roll pots from Instructables – make your seed pots from something you already have on-hand at home. And again, you can write the seed type right on the container.

4.) Newspaper pots from HGTV – a little more involved than the toilet roll pots, but if you have a child who’s interested in origami, making these will keep them occupied for a while!

5.) Paper cup pots from SF Gate – put your Starbucks cups to good use!

6.) To-go containers – clamshell containers make good seed starter containers because they have a built-in lid to act as a greenhouse. Just poke a few holes in the bottom so the container can drain, add your soil and seeds, close the lid and place in a sunny spot.

7.) Yogurt cup containers from Wine & Glue – my favorite thing about almost all of these ideas is that we’re reusing things you were probably going to throw out anyway. Cheap and eco-friendly!

8.) Purchased seed trays from Amazon – while it’s fun to make your own containers, purchasing them has it’s advantages, too. You can fit a lot more seedlings in a seed tray than in some of these containers, and they have a nice, uniform look. If you do purchase trays, look for ones that come with lids to give your seeds a greenhouse effect and keep the moisture and heat in better.

My only other word of warning when it comes to seedlings is this – don’t overwater! Mist your seedbabies gently with a spray bottle so that the soil is barely damp and place them in a warm, sunny spot indoors. It doesn’t hurt to talk to them, eiher, though your children may think you’re nuts. Don’t they already, though?

Do you have any tips to start seedlings indoors? Please share!




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