Gathering Supplies for Starting Seeds Indoors

“...since plants are medicines, so too could their stories be healing.” — Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

Welcome to our fall/winter herbal grow-along! I’ve curated a collection of medicinal herbs called the Cedar House Living Herbal Set. (While this exact set is no longer available, I encourage you to visit my online shop where I sell many of my favorite varieties of flower and herb seeds so that you can begin growing.) I’m inviting YOU to grow with me in health and soil. The set includes the following five varieties: bee balm, lemon balm, calendula, catnip and chamomile. This will not be an overly structured grow-along, but rather a relaxed opportunity to learn how to grow from seed, even in the coldest months of your climate. You do not have to purchase my seed set to join us in growing, nor do you have to participate in the grow-along to purchase the seed set. I will begin sharing my growing journey with these seeds next week and will include stories, photos, and other helpful information via Instagram and these grow-along blog posts.

seed packets cedar house living

If you would like to grow alongside me, here are a few steps to get you on track for the launch of our grow-along next week:

Step 1
Purchase seeds. In addition to growing alongside me, seeds make a lovely, heartfelt gift when tucked into a terracotta pot with a set of snips and a pack of plant markers!

Step 2
Consider inviting a friend to grow with you. Perhaps you have a sister, daughter, mother or neighbor who might want to grow their own herbs. This is a fun way to connect together.

Step 3
Join my newsletter list if you would like to receive notification of new blog posts where I’ll share updates, guidance, tips, Q&A, recipes, and photos. CLICK HERE and enter your email address to the newsletter subscription box at the very bottom of the page.

Step 4
Visit my Fall Grow-Along Project Amazon List for a list of the supplies I use and recommend for growing from seed. The list currently includes all my favorite seed-starting supplies and I will add to this list each time I reference new supplies or other items throughout the project. There is no need to buy anything on the list. Perhaps you already have the majority of what you need to get started or have a favorite local nursery you like to buy from. This Amazon list is just there as a convenience, so you don’t have to do the supply searching alone.

Gathering Supplies

If you’re a planner, like me, you'll probably want to get everything organized ahead of time. Here’s what you'll need:

  • Seeds
  • Seed starting soil. I use the mixture listed below, but any organic seed-starting soil will work. Just make sure it is organic.
  • Seed starting containers. These can be terracotta pots, seed-starting trays, peat pots, old plant pots you find in the garage, even empty egg cartons or eggshells will work!
TIP 1: If using old pots, be sure to wash them with a bleach water solution (1:10 ratio of bleach:water) to get rid of anything lingering that could cause havoc on your new growing journey.
TIP 2: Make sure your containers have drainage holes so access water can naturally drain from your soil.
TIP 3: Drainage trays to catch that access water is recommended. You can pick these up at your local hardware store. The black flat trays are perfect if you are using see-starting trays. The clear discs and terracotta saucers work great too. Anything to collect the access water. 
  • A small watering can and/or mister (spray bottle) and water.
  • Plant labels. These are my favorite for seed starting, however popsicle sticks and plastic plant labels work great too.
  • A seedling heat mat. Though not required, a heat mat typically cuts your germination period in half (if not more). If you have a friend or neighbor who has one you can borrow, even better, as you’ll only need it about a week. I have two that I recommend in my Fall Grow-Along Project Amazon List; one is a smaller size specifically for this project, and I also listed the ones I have, which are a larger size (same brand.)
  • Grow lights. If you live somewhere that is rather dark in the colder months (I’m talking to you, fellow Pacific Northwesterners!!) than grow lights are a very important tool to successful winter growing. I use grow lights as a supplemental light source to daylight (I’ll get into this more in a later post), but you can actually use it as a sole light source as well. Both florescent and LED lights work great. I have listed the three types of LED grow lights that I use and recommend in my Amazon list. They vary in size and shape so you can choose what works best for your growing space.
  • Humidity domes. If you are growing in a greenhouse, garage, or an enclosed porch during cold temperatures, humidity domes hold in heat and protect your delicate seedlings from cold temperature dips. They are not necessary if you are growing in your home.

Soil Mixture

Here is the soil mixture I use and have found to greatly increase my germination success:

1 cup of organic soil or compost mixture
1 cup peat moss – this helps hold moisture
3 cups worm castings
1 tablespoon gypsum
½ cup alfalfa
½ cup fireplace ash (biochar) from your bonfire or fireplace

  Cedar House Living Farm grow along seed starting tips gardening medicinal herb herbalist soil mixture

Set Up Your Space
Choose a space with a flat surface to hold your seedling containers that has access to natural light (if possible) and an electrical outlet for grow lights and heat mat. A small table or sill near a south-facing window is ideal if you are growing in your home, however if that’s not possible, any space with an electrical outlet will work.  If you are growing in a greenhouse, garage, or enclosed porch, I recommend a table space large enough to hold a heat mat.

Some Gentle Reminders

  • You do not need to sow your seeds the exact same day as me. Just start when you can and follow along to learn tips and tricks along the way to help you have the greatest chance of success.
  • If you love the idea of growing these medicinal herbs but don’t have time to commit right now, you can purchase the seeds and store them in a cool, dry place until the time is right for you. Then come back to my blog to follow along with each step.
  • Our seeds will not necessarily germinate at the exact same time and that is okay. There are many factors that play a role in how quickly your seeds germinate including temperature, where you grow (greenhouse vs indoor windowsill), what type of soil you use, and if you are using a heat mat. Don’t be discouraged if your seeds take a little longer to germinate or aren’t growing their leaves as quickly. Patience is a huge part of growing from seed. But it’s so rewarding!!

What’s Next?
This week, focus on gathering the supplies needed to start growing. Next week, I will circle back around with tips for sowing your seeds and to chat a bit about the benefits of each medicinal herb.

Have a beautiful week, friends,

Disclaimer: This article may contain Amazon affiliate links. Cedar House Living LLC receives a small commission for sales generated through these links at no additional cost to you. I use the commissions to further expand my garden, floral, and herbal knowledge so I can continue to share what I learn with you.

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