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How to Start Seeds Indoors Without a Greenhouse

Are you interested in learning how to start seeds indoors without a greenhouse?

I am planning to do just that and am kicking off a winter gardening series that will detail my process (Part 1). So come grow with me!

I am so excited about this new blog series that we’ll be doing over the next few months.

In the last year, I’ve been talking a lot about changing things up in my gardens because I have more time to work in them now that my kids are grown.

And I want to try new things.

Last year, I started a new cutting garden that was really fun.

So I’m interested in expanding the cut flower garden and grow more varieties of flowers.

What better way to do that then to start them from seed?

I’ll have more options to choose from, it’s budget-friendly and a rewarding way to grow my garden during the doldrums of winter.

Here’s how we are starting seeds indoors this winter!

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My Inspiration to Start Seeds Indoors

My good friend Kim from Shiplap and Shells has a gorgeous cutting garden.

She lives in the pacific northwest and starts many of her flowers from seed.

Kim also has an amazing greenhouse where she starts all those seeds.

So I started thinking about it more.

If I want to grow plants and flowers that are not readily available around here, I’ve got to start them from seed.

But how do I do that without a greenhouse?

Photo by Kim at Shiplap and Shells

If I Don’t Have a Greenhouse, How Do I Successfully Start Seeds Indoors

Feeling inspired, I started looking around at the various of options to start seeds successfully indoors.

And it turns out?

You Need the Right Equipment to Start Seeds

I have started plants from seed before with some success.

But I didn’t use the proper setup or supplies to do it really well.

Some plants started easily.

While others were epic fails.

Part of the problem was that I started seeds in front of my south-facing windows.

There’s not much room to grow stuff there.

The windows are not very large so my seed starting set-up sucked up a lot of my living space.

And seedlings were not receiving an adequate amount of light to grow properly.

So it was a bit of a struggle to do it there.

gardening zone 6a summer flowers

Then the voice in my head took over.

Telling me that I needed a greenhouse to be more successful.

And that couldn’t be further from the truth!

If I want to expand my gardens to include more cut flowers, I’ve got to get that mindset out of my head, get the proper equipment and start them from seed.

Since I don’t have a greenhouse and can’t do them on a large scale in my living room, I decided to start seeds in my basement using the right equipment.

The basement is a great spot to start them because I have plenty of space to grow lots of plants and they will grow much better with the right equipment.

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How to Start Seeds Indoors Without a Greenhouse

Location Location Location

If you are like me and do not have a greenhouse, find a spot in your home where you can place a grow system with lights.

It does not have to take up a lot of space, particularly if you use a shelf-type system.

Once you have the area mapped out, measure it.

This will help determine the size of your growing system, as well as the amount of seed trays you can fit.

Cottage Garden with Seed Starts

Shop for Seeds

Start seed shopping in December and January.

My gardening friends, Kim at Shiplap and Shells, and Jennifer at The Flowering Farmhouse in the PNW recommend purchasing seeds from Floret Flower Farm, so that’s where I purchased from mine too.

Since seed sales started in early January, I did my research beforehand, saved a wishlist on their site, and got what I could when the sale went live.

And I’m happy to report I just received my seed packets the other day!

So now I’m super excited to get started with this process.

How to Start Seeds Indoors Without a Greenhouse

Gather Supplies to Start Seeds Indoors

In general, here’s what to buy:

Since I have a lot of space in my basement, I want to work with four-foot grow light systems.

There are smaller options available so design a system that works best for you and the space you have.

After deadheading flowers

There are a few ways to create the grow light system:

There are tiered systems available like these from Gardener’s Supply.

I love when everything comes together like this.

Plus, it’s easy to use and move around.

But if you ask my husband, he wants us to piece something together ourselves and make something similar to a pre-made tiered system.

So that’s what we are doing.

And we are shopping for supplies this weekend!

Hardening Off Plants After Starting Seeds Indoors

Seed Starting Supply Tips

It is strongly recommended to do one flower variety per cell tray.

This is a GREAT tip because I’ve made the mistake of condensing different plants and varieties in the same cell tray and they germinated at different times.

Hardening off Plants after starting seeds indoors

So it is important to have enough cell trays for each packet of seeds.

Looking at my seed packs, I’m going to need a lot of trays!

Good thing I saved some trays with containers from the nursery last year for this very purpose.

Because I have leftovers, I’m planning to do a combination of re-using those and getting new supplies.

For the ones I am re-using, it is essential to clean them really well with a 1:10 ratio of chlorine bleach to the water to sanitize and kill any pests or diseases lingering behind.

This is actually a good practice for any pots or containers that you re-use for any type of plant.

How to Start Seeds Indoors Without a Greenhouse

Plan Your Seed Start Planting Schedule

While gathering seed starting supplies, chart the timing and needs for each seed packet.

It’s much easier to figure out how many supplies you’ll need after writing it all down.

So calendar seed start dates together with plant requirements.

While organizing the seed start schedule, it’s important to know when the last frost date is.

In New Jersey, my last frost date is typically around or just after Mother’s Day, but in the last few years, it’s been stretched to mid-May.

How to Plant a Garden After Starting Seeds Indoors

I still tend to plant tenders around Mother’s Day anyway, but watch the weather like a hawk and cover anything that is susceptible to frost.

With the last frost date in hand, look through each seed packet.

Write down the flower, variety, date of maturity, when it should be sowed, seed starting dates, overall size, and color.

When mine was all written down, I added it to a spreadsheet to organize the information better.

Not only does this make planning the garden easier, but it helps hone my seed starting supply list too.

How to Start Seeds Indoors Without a Greenhouse

When to Start Seeds Indoors

Now that we know what it takes to start seeds indoors, when do we begin?

And the answer is, it depends upon what you are growing.

So read the seed packets and determine how long seeds need to be sown before YOUR last frost date.

For me, my last frost date is typically in mid-May, so I count backwards from that date to determine when seeds should be sown indoors.

In the next blog of the series, I’ll chat more about my seed starting supplies and the basement setup.

This is going to be so fun, isn’t it?

I can’t wait to start my new gardening adventure.

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Want To Get More Organized to Start Seeds?

CLICK HERE to get my FREE DOWNLOADABLE PRINTABLE that will help you get organized to sow seeds this year.

Print as many pages as you want and add them to your gardening journal for ease of reference during the growing season.

How to Start Seeds Indoors Without a Greenhouse Series

How to Start Seeds Indoors Without a Greenhouse

Want to Learn How to Grow a Cut Flower Garden?

Would you like to learn how to grow a cut flower garden this year?

I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to grow your own flowers to cut and enjoy bouquets all season long.

And while I strongly suggest starting a cut flower garden from seed, you don’t have to.

But you will be more limited to what’s offered at your local nurseries.

Want to learn how to grow a cut flower garden?

From starting seeds to planting and cut flower arranging, this post is for you!

Follow these cut flower gardening tips and be sure to check out my best advice for beginners at the end of this post.

Follow THIS cut flower gardening guide for beginners.

Cut flower gardening is so fun! Home and Garden Blogger Stacy Ling

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