Growing your own vegetables from seed is one of the most satisfying (and cost-effective) things you can do in a backyard. And with a mini-greenhouse, it's super easy to raise healthy little seedlings, which you can then plant out into garden beds - or pots - to grow on to maturity. The Jiffy Pots included in our Patch from Scratch starter kit are biodegradable, so you can plant them straight into the ground - how simple is that? buy our easy to use Patch from Scratch starter kit and get planting.
Starting seeds is fun and richly rewarding—especially when done correctly
Growing your own vegetables from seed is a two-part process. First comes sowing seeds and encouraging them to germinate (sprout), followed by transplanting the seedlings into the garden in beds or pots. Seed packets will tell you whether you can raise seedlings in pots or punnets, or should sow the seeds directly where the plant is to grow. The packet will also indicate how long the seeds will take to germinate.
Sowing and germinating
- Containers: Use new or clean pots or punnets with good drainage. Varieties that transplant with difficulty, such as lettuces and beans, can be sown in individual biodegradable peat pots (Jiffy Pots) so they can be planted out in their pots, preventing transplant shock. Set all pots in a tray.
- Soil: Fill pots with pre-moistened seed-raising mix. You can buy it from nurseries, and a formula containing coir or peat, and perlite or vermiculite is best for plants that are germinating.
- Moisture: Cover pots with clear plastic or glass, or a tent of sheet plastic, to maintain even moisture in the seed-raising mix until seeds germinate. Don’t use a cover in direct sunlight or you’ll cook your seedlings! Remove cover when seedlings emerge.
- Light: Follow instructions on seed packets. Some seeds require moderate light; some need darkness to germinate.
- Water: Most seeds must be kept damp, not wet, until seedlings emerge. Fine seeds need to be watered carefully. Use a mist spray, or add water to the tray. Once seedlings have emerged, water more deeply but less frequently, a light sprinkling won’t encourage deep rooting. Always use a fine hose spray or watering can with a fine rose.
- Timing: Check containers regularly. Prick out crowded seedlings when about 12mm tall to a larger container. Make a hole in the mix with pencil for the seedling roots, firm mix around it and water gently. When seedlings are about 7-10cm tall, transplant into garden beds.
Tight on space? Here's our guide to growing vegetables in small spaces.