Easy Seed Starting Guide for Container Gardening

Easy Seed Starting Guide for Container Gardening

seeds in red cup containers with two bees

Seed Starting Guidelines and tips for Container Gardens and Planting your seeds.

This Easy Seed Starting Guide for Container Gardening can really keep you on track to getting the most out of your harvest. Especially with Container Gardening or small gardening spaces.

About the Easy Seed Starting Guide for Container Gardening

The average is based on a Fifty-Year history for each region. They are intended to offer you general guidelines for starting your seeds indoors. They may vary depending on weather changes or climate changes in your region. Let’s get started with finding the right soil and containers for your backyard container garden:

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

When To Start Planting Your Seeds

In Canada, we have many different climates to consider. For instance, you can start to plant a bit sooner on the West Coast of British Columbia as early as January and February. Whereas in some other climates, you may want to wait 8-10 weeks before the last frost. (Usually, the last frost is around May20-25th). You can also use the guide recommended on the West Coast Seeds Website. They have printable pdf files for each region that may come in really handy.

Depending on your seeds you want to read the back of them to decide on which plants lifecycles are going to last you the full growing season. For instance, look at the back of your seed packages. It will tell you if the seeds are container friendly, How to plant them and how many days until you can start harvesting your plant.

Here is an example below of the seeds I am going to plant this year. I will start the Rosemary at the end of February to make sure it can get to its full potential for the growing season. Although you can take them indoors when the temperature drops. That is the one benefit of container gardening I love.

Getting the Right Soil PH Levels When Planting Seeds

Although I have used many soil types throughout the years. I do not recommend just using garden topsoil. I highly recommend seeing what PH level the soil needs to be. For instance, a good rule of thumb I go by is that the PH level in soils for vegetables is between 6.0-7.0.

They will not be hindered in any way if the soil gets to 5.5 -7.5 PH. However, below 5.5 and above the 7.5PH mark the soil may need some modifications. Some exceptions are potatoes, which need acidic soil around 4.8-6.5 Max PH. I have designed a chart below for easy reference.

Vegetable PH Level
Asparagus 6.0-8.0
Beans (Pole)6.0-7.5
Brussel Sprouts6.0-7.5
Garlic 5.5-8.0
Lettuce 6.0-7.0
Pea Sweet6.0-7.5
Peppers 5.5-7.0
Lemon Trees6.0-7.5

Choosing the Soil For Your Seeds

I have used regular potting soils, and just plain garden soil to start my seedlings. However, I did notice a big difference in the quality of the plants significantly. I would suggest starting with the Miracle-Gro Seed Started blend or the Premier Horticulture Organic Seed Starter Mix. Only if your doing seeds or clippings from the plant.

The reason why is that it is specially formulated to help with the germination process. It provides fast results for strong roots. They also recommend using the quick start plant food once you have transplanted the seedlings into a larger pot. This product is not recommended for “in the ground” gardens.

Do NOT overwater your plant. The soil is not sterilized like their outdoor mixtures. You want to loosely shake off the soil when replanting the plant into new soil for its next stage of growth. If your a beginner gardener I would suggest using the all-purpose moisture control, especially if you’re prone to overwatering your plants.

Easy Seed Starting Soils for Container Gardening

Finding the Right Starter Seedling Trays or Cups

I personally prefer to use larger cups, mainly because I do not have to disturb the roots too much during replanting time. Trays are good if your starting them in January, with a heat mat under them and a dome. I also have started using the biodegradable ones that I can just snip apart and put into each container. This saves time measuring for spacing. Here are some great starter trays I have used and can recommend myself:

Which Vegetables And Herbs Take The Longest To Germinate from Seed

VegetablesDays Until Harvest
Brussel Sprouts140-155 Days
Tomatoes From Seed70- 150+ Days
Aparagus1-6 years
Garlic150-210 Days
Leek160-200 Days
Potatoes120+ days
Pumpkin or Squash90-120 days
Eggplants75-90 days
Rosemary 90-400 days

My Recommendation for Buying Seeds Locally

You all know by now I love to support the Canadian Farmers and Business’s. So I would recommend seeing what seeds are available from local Canadians:

Steps to Make Sure Your Seeds Germinate

  • Get the timing right on when to start planting. Some plants germinate quicker than others. General times are 6-10 weeks before the last frost.
  • Find the right containers- Make sure they have drainage holes and evenly moist but not overwatered.
  • Choose the right soil mix. If you’re planting them outdoors, use a sterile type of soil rather than the seed starting mix. Check your planting instructions on your seed package for spacing and depth.
  • Water Feed and Keep in sunlight or under lights. Do not let the soil become soggy and add in food or ph balancing liquid to keep the soil healthy.
  • Harden them slowly by bringing them outdoors around 10 hrs. a day to start.
  • Learn about companion planting when doing your final transplant.

Trouble Shooting Your Seedlings

My Seedlings are growing long and falling over or dying after sprouting

You need to change your soil mixture. Don’t use the regular potting soil. Your equipment should be sterile when planting your seeds. They may not be getting enough ventilation. The soil may be too wet. Try watering your plants from the bottom, not the top.

Seedlings are turning brown, yellow or have faded leaves

You could be over watering, or maybe you added food that chemically burned them. Too much sun or a lack of nutrients could be the issue. Use the seedling soil mix.

Weak Leggy Seedling are appearing

Your seedlings could be reaching for more light. Try to give them 12-14 hours of sunlight a day. Use some grow lights if needed. Thin the seedlings if they are over crowded. You can find lights in our store for more information.

Mold is Growing in my seed trays

Caused by over watering, and over crowding. Give the plant some extra air circulation. Dry out some of the soil in your trays by using a fan.

Tiny Fruit Flies flying around my seedlings

This is usually caused by over watering as well. They are fungus gnats. You can buy the yellow sticky traps at your local home depot. Store all unused soil in Tupperware bins.

My Seedlings are not growing or are growing very slow

Check the room tempeture to make sure they are warm enough. You should aim for 65 degrees F. Use a heat mat to help them. They are not getting enough sunlight or lack of nutrients could be a factor. Use a moisture gage and ph reader to monitor them closely.

Don’t Forget To Leave A Comment

Cute Bee holding a pot of honey licking his lips

If you have any questions or want to leave some gardening tips on starting your seeds, Or if you just simply loved the post on Easy Seed Starting Guide for Container Gardening We would love to hear from you in the comment section below! We may just add it to our post! We are always looking for new tips to share with our viewers!

Written by
Our Busy Bee
Join the discussion

  • Quite a detailed step by step guide to gardening. I think this is the article for interested folks especially if they are first timers. Nice job.

    • Thank you for stopping by Carol, I only have a post just on lemon trees right now. In the future, I do hope to add in more of the flowers I have been growing and learning about. I will definitely have to include these things for you this coming year ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you so much Yanitza! I am so happy to hear you find it useful ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you will come back and visit, I am just adding in some new content and will be uploading some videos on planting my seedlings this year and comparing some new ways!

  • Wow, there is so much information here. I’ve been mulling over the idea of planting more herbs and veggies. Thank you!

    • Your so welcome, Jenny! I am so thrilled you’re finding it informative. ๐Ÿ™‚ I will keep adding to them as I learn more myself and share what I have learned! Hopefully, you can grow along with the site this growing season coming up ๐Ÿ™‚ Please feel free to add any tips for newbies this season anywhere on the site! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such kind words!