Hayefield Seed-Starters’ Library

One of my favorite things about growing from seed is that there’s always something to learn: new techniques to experiment with, new seeds to sow, and new tweaks to try to improve old routines. Each of us has to develop an approach that works for our particular conditions, and seeds are living things, so there is no one set of steps that is guaranteed to work in every place or for every kind of seed.

I realize that can be frustrating for folks who want to be able to sow X amount of Seed A in Container B and Medium C and Place D and get X number of seedlings in Y number of days. In my experience, it just doesn’t work that way in a home setting, except maybe for the very easiest seeds. Fortunately, most of us learn patience, humility, adaptability, and acceptance of unpredictability early in our gardening life, and drawing on those lessons helps to make seed-sowing a joyful and rewarding experience overall even if not everything works out as we expect.

To that end, I’ve decided to explain how I currently handle the growing-from-seed process here at Hayefield, based on over three decades of my seed-sowing experiences. Some things may be a bit advanced if you are completely new to starting seeds or too basic if you too have been growing from seed for many years. Still, I think we can all learn something from each other, and I hope you find something of use here whatever your level of experience. These pages are a big and on-going project, so I’ll be updating the entries and adding topics, details, and photos as time allows. If you have questions on anything I’ve written here or have seed-related topics you’d like me to address, please feel free to send a message through my Contact page.

New Seeds—Now What?  How to handle seeds between arrival and sowing time

Deciding How and When to Sow

Getting Ready to Sow  Organizing your seeds and materials

Choosing a Seed-Sowing Medium

Sowing Seeds in Pots  Selecting pots, and the actual sowing process

Alternatives to Sowing in Pots  My opinions about paper towels, peat pots, and other options

Sowing Seeds in Milk Jugs (aka Winter Sowing)

Indoor Seed-Starting  Providing light, heat, and humidity

Sowing Seeds in the Ground  Planting seeds right where you want them to grow

Handling Seeds that Need Chilling

Self-Sowing Seeds

Seeds through the Year