Starting Seeds Indoors

Starting seeds indoors is the first step in learning to grow your own food. Learning how to start a garden from seed is a very important skill in prepping. Food prices are going through the roof as well as the cost of those cute little plants the nursery is starting for you now and will have on sale in a few months.  Why pay for that when you can do it on your own. It’s not scary. I promise and I will walk you through it step by step.

Starting Seeds Indoors-Step One, Shopping!

what is an heirloom seedFirst thing you need to do is buy your seeds. Tammy made some great suggestions on where to buy seeds in this article.  Preppers prefer heirloom seeds because you can save the seeds from year to year and will get the same plant each year. The ability to save seed is an important survival skill as well as a cost saving measure. With a hybrid if you save the seed, you will get one of the parent plants, not the same seed.
There are lots of cool stories about people immigrating to this country with seeds sown into the hems of their dresses to have their plants from the ‘old country’ here. Heirlooms just have great tradition and are sustainable. So if you are learning to garden for the ability to grow your own food, start stocking up on heirlooms.

This year I choose to order the bulk of my seed from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. They have an artichoke variety I am interested in trying so I decided to place most of my order through them. Since these are new plants for me, I went with the smaller seed packets of most. In some cases the price for 50 seeds was only $1 or $2 less than a packet of 250 or 500. In those cases I went with the 250 so I can add those to my seed preps. Here is what my cart looks like so far.

starting seeds indoors order 2013

OG on seeds stands for Organic, F1 notes a first generation hybrid. While I certainly stock and store heirlooms, I do love to play with hybrids. How cool does that purple bell pepper look?

You don’t have to order from a fancy seed supply company. If this is your first year, then go to Lowes, Home Depot or wherever you can to pick up some packets so you can follow along in this series. Later this week I will post a tutorial on how to germinate your seeds.

Materials you will need for the How To Germinate Your Seeds Tutorial:

Seeds-some good choices for first timers in late February and early March are:

  • celery
  • dill
  • leeks
  • parsnips
  • tomatoes (although we don’t want to start these too early)
  • asparagus (bare root)
  • carrots
  • Cabbage
  • garlic (bulb)
  • lemon balm
  • onion seeds
  • thyme

Late March Starters-

  • Chives
  • Lettuce
  • Sage
  • Turnips
  • Swiss Chard

The above are a good reference for my Zone 5a-5b area. Make sure you know your growing zone before buying your seed!

In addition to seed, you will need:

this list contains Amazon Affiliate links

OK, go gather your supplies and we will plant later this week!


Favorite Garden Seed Sources

If you are anything like me, you’ve already spent time dreaming about garden seeds for 2018’s bountiful harvest. Yes, my favorite garden seed sources just might have a few drool stains amongst their already well worn pages.  I’d love to show your my favorite places to find garden seeds.

Non-GMO Garden Seed Sources

What Type of Seeds Should You Buy

You want to make sure you purchase from companies that are committed to providing non GMO seed. I do not grow out Monsanto seed….period.

While I believe that open pollinated seeds are the best idea (you can save your seeds from year to year) there is a place for hybrids too.  If I want a tomato before the end August, I need to have a couple early hybrids planted somewhere.

ProTip:  Confused about open pollinated, heirloom, and hybird seeds?  Learn more from this excellent post on Seeds Savers Exchange.

summer squash in a Johnny's Seeds catalogs - Garden Seed Source


I choose organic seed whenever available, but I do have seed that has been harvested from plants grown organically, but the actual seed that grew the plant wasn’t organic.

The garden seed sources below will provide you with everything from organic, to heirloom, to rare, to ……well you name it!

My Favorite Garden Seed Sources!

Johnny’s Seed (I’ve ordered from Johnny’s for years and and years.)


Baker Creek

Vegetable Seed Warehouse

Garden Seed Sources For The Victory Garden

A Seed Company For Your Gardening Zone

I’m fortunate to have a friend, who has a passion for keeping alive many critical varieties.  You may have read his *this post contains affiliate links book, Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers.

I know when I order seeds from Caleb’s company, not only have they been tested in MY state, they are NEVER hybrid, GMO, patented, or corporate owned.   The seeds you purchase from Caleb’s  Renaissance Seeds meets each of these standards.

Emergency and Survival Garden Seed Sources

While we are on the topic of seeds, do you have you have an emergency survival seed stash?  These are heirloom seeds that have been packaged to last for long periods of time.

Don’t Forget The Experienced Gardeners!

Another excellent garden seed source for your area are other gardeners! Experienced gardeners are likely to be saving their seed from year to year. Having a seasoned gardener as a mentor can be a great source of instruction AND seeds!

Pro Tip: Looking for more information on heirloom seeds?  Check out Seed Savers

garden seed sources for backyard gardens

Take A Look At Your Local Stores

Heck, you could just stroll down to your local grocery store and grab a few packets of easy to grow seed (cucumber, summer squash, pumpkins, lettuce, are a few) and start growing your own food! Burpee has a new organic line that you can find in stores.

Pro Tip: Check to see if your state allows SNAP programs to pay for seeds and garden plants. Many do. Talk about making the most of your grocery dollar AND learn a skill with the ability to make a huge impact in your life!

Starting Seeds Indoors

Once you have your seeds you can read our post on how to start seeds indoors to get a jump start on your garden.  You’ll also want to pick up a few seed starting kits.

There is simply nothing quite like being able to walk out to your kitchen garden (or you backyard garden pots filled with veggie plants!) and pick your own dinner. Now is the time to start your planning!

Where are YOUR favorite places to score garden seeds?