Photo by member Melanie Ragan
1. Start with fresh seed starting mix if possible - avoid peat moss which is not renewable. Seed starting mix is light weight and sterile. Most store bought stuff has extra fertilizers in it - so to make a mix that is less chemical and more sustainable use a 1:1:1 ratio of perlite, vermiculite and coir (a sustainable peat substitute.) Start with sterile mix or risk having many started seeds damp off.
2. Find a source for those plastic carriers for fruits and veg - berries or cherry tomatoes come in them. Milk gallons cut in half work well too. Call you non gardening friends to chat about your garden plans and ask them to collect those little green houses for you. Use this as a change to talk up gardening as a way you are saving money!
3. You can also use newspaper to create these awesome little origami pots that also work well.
4. If you have room start a little of all of them. Sometimes seeds fail. If you have too many plants come May you can share them with friends and family.
5. Don't fertilize any thing until the first true leaves appear. This is the second set of leaves after the first leaves appear. Use compost tea or a bit of worm castings not a lot though - you can over do it. Remember how that goldfish died because you fed it too much? A little goes a long way.
6. Super bright hot windows can be too much for little starts. Use tracing paper or some other thin paper to cover the window and disperse the light a bit.
7. Stagger some starts if you have a long season so that you have new veg through the length of your growing season.
8. If the package said start outdoors do that. It usually means the plant is sensitive to transplant shock and needs to grow where it starts.
9. Set up a bottom water wicking system in your growing trays. Find an old terry towel and cut it into inch wide strips then lay those strips under your start pots - letting about 8 inches on either end come out and hang over the tray edge. They will wick the water that settles in the bottom away most of the time. Do keep and eye though - seedlings shouldn't sit in water. They like moisture but not sogginess. (Credit for this cool idea goes to Flower Garden GirlA.K.A. Anna in zone 7a.
10. Don't start too early. If the seed variety says "start indoors 8 weeks before last frost" then start them eight weeks - not twelve weeks ahead. Otherwise you may have very leggy plants. Leggy is good in Rockettes and NBA players - not plants. To find historical frost data for your area - try Weather Underground.
Expect a little failure but focus on the things that go and grow well!
If you haven't started planning your yardsharing garden yet you might be interested in reading this.