Ready to get those seeds started? Here are some of our favorite seed-starting tools to save time & improve your results…
Spring is in the air, and as the excitement of the new garden season grows, you’re probably busy perusing seed catalogs, ordering your seeds, and putting plans for this year’s garden into action. To get you started off on the right foot, we thought we’d share some of our favorite seed-starting tools and gardening products!
Using the right tools can make any job easier, and starting seeds is no exception. And since it’s not always easy to decide which product is the best, we thought we’d share some of our favorites to make your seed-starting adventure a little simpler!
From containers to soil mixes, plant lights, to heat mats, and more, here are some of the best seed-starting tools that we’ve found:
1. Seed Starting Containers
Just about any container can be used for seed starting, as long as it has drainage holes in the bottom. Some common choices include plastic cups, yogurt containers, and egg cartons. You can even upcycle items from around your house, like coffee cans or old Tupperware – or make your own containers from newspapers or cardboard.
You can also purchase pre-made seed starting trays, which are shallow containers that have multiple compartments, each of which is the perfect size for starting a few seeds. These trays make it easy to keep your seeds organized and prevent them from getting mixed up. They also make it easy to transplant your seedlings into individual pots later on.
- Includes 10 12-cell seed trays plus 10 humidity domes and water trays
- Also comes with 20 plant labels and 2 small seed-planting hand tools
- The vented clear plastic domes provide visibility while maintaining proper humidity for germination
- Individual water trays allow water to drain without spilling everywhere
- Clear plastic seed trays are reusable and allow you to keep an eye on root development to give you a better idea of when your seedlings are ready to transplant
- Perfect for starting flowers and vegetables indoors before transplanting outside or into larger containers
2. Seed Starting Soil
When it comes to starting your seeds, the soil you use is just as important as the container. You need a soil that is light and airy, so that your young plants can easily push through and take root. You also want a soil that is well-draining, so that your seeds don’t get waterlogged and rot.
There are a few different ways to get light, airy, well-draining soil. One is to make your own seed starting mix using ingredients like perlite, vermiculite, and compost. Another is to buy a pre-made seed-starting mix from your local garden center.
A couple of our favorites are the Espoma Organic Seed Starter Premium Potting Soil Mix, and Purple Cow Organics Seed Starter Mix, both of which promote rapid germination and vigorous seedlings with strong root systems able to withstand transplanting and thrive.
Soil is generally a bit more expensive if you buy it online, so I recommend looking at your local nursery if you have one that carries a good organic seed starting mix. (Be sure to buy a mix that is specifically for starting seeds – not generic potting soil, which may have an inappropriate amount of nutrients that can harm your little seedlings or stunt their growth.)
3. Seed Starting Kit
If you’re new to starting your own seeds and just want an easy way to get started fast, without buying separate soil and containers, you may consider a seed starting kit. Seed starting kits will typically contain everything you need to get started – including containers, soil or peat pellets, and sometimes even seeds.
These can get pricey if you’re buying a lot of them, so they’re best for those just dipping a toe in the water with starting seeds, or those who only have a very small garden. You can make this purchase more sustainable by re-using the containers for several years, simply replacing the soil or peat pellets each year.
- Slender design, making it easy to store and use on a windowsill
- Clear plastic dome retains heat, creating an optimal seed-starting environment
- Starts 10-12 plants from seeds or cuttings
- Pellets expand to form pot and soil all in one
4. Seed Starting Lights
Once your seeds have been planted, they will need light to grow strong, upright stems and develop into healthy plants. If you are starting your seeds indoors, you will need to set up a grow light. These lights mimic the sunlight that plants need to photosynthesize and grow.
Whether you’re starting seeds indoors or growing indoors year-round, you will need a good grow light to keep your plants healthy.
Try the Hytekgro LED Grow Light 45W:
- Full-spectrum LED grow light
- Emits wavelengths that are fully absorbed by seedlings
- Works for both vegetables and flowers
- Easy to assemble
- Energy-saving and eco-friendly
5. Seed Starting Heat Mats
Seed-starting heat mats are optional, but they can be a big help in getting your seeds to germinate. These mats provide bottom heat, which is ideal for many types of seeds that prefer warmer soil for germination, such as peppers and eggplants. By keeping your seeds warm, you can speed up the germination process and get a jump start on the growing season.
- This heat mat maintains sweet-spot temperatures around 68-86℉(20-30℃), which is perfect for seed-starting and cutting propagation
- Stable & Uniform Heat: The advanced far-infrared heating technology of this heat pad provides your plant with a warm environment to create optimal conditions for speeding up germination and accelerating the growth rate.
- Designed with soft, flexible, and long-lasting PVC material, this warming mat goes beyond stringent MET standards, and the IP67 rating waterproof surface is easy to clean
6. Seed-Starting Hand Tools
While you can certainly use regular garden hand tools like a trowel and dibble for planting seeds, full-size tools can be a bit unwieldy when it comes to working with small seedlings. It may make sense to have a couple of hand tools available specifically for starting seeds. For example, this unique seed-starting trowel includes 4 seed-starting tools in one!
Try the Fiskars Seed Planting Trowel:
- This unique trowel includes four seed-planting essentials in one lightweight, durable tool
- Unique tool features a trowel, stylus, widger, and measuring tool, all integrated into one easy-to-use 2-piece tool
- Includes debossed, easy-to-read, English and metric measurements on trowel and widger
- Made of lightweight, rust-proof FiberComp for superior durability
7. Soil Blocker
For the ultimate in sustainability, skip the containers altogether and start your seedlings in soil blocks! This method reduces plastic waste, and is believed to reduce transplant shock by minimizing disruptions to roots when planting seedlings out in the garden. You will still need some sort of tray, box, or container to hold your blocks, but you can build your own or repurpose or reuse an old plant tray or another container for this purpose if you don’t want to buy one.
Try the Soligt 2-Inch Soil Blocker:
- Comfortable round handle design made of durable heavy-gauge steel for quiet and rust-free operation.
- Makes 2″ soil block cubes quickly and easily without sticking or crumbling.
- No Transplant Shock – Soil blocks make it easy to transplant seedlings without injuring the roots
- No Pot Needed – Environmentally Friendly: Reduces dependence on plastic pots or cell trays, creating less plastic waste and saving you money in the long-run