091-Starting Seeds Indoors: The Non-Negotiables for Success, Pt. 1 – Encore Presentation

| Plant, Podcast

Last year, I shared a podcast series devoted to starting seeds indoors. It has been incredibly popular as more and more gardeners develop an excitement for this aspect of gardening. In fact this year, I’ve been hearing from even more of you who are starting seeds for the first time or who missed this series last year and have been asking lots of questions to improve on technique. For that reason, I’m sharing an encore of the first in my 2018 series covering all the non-negotiables and tips for starting seeds successfully.

Gardeners have often been intimidated by this process, but there’s just no need to be. With these basic principles under your belt, growing seeds indoors can be simple and incredibly rewarding. As a bonus: starting plants from seeds is not only a big money-saver, but it provides you more control over the health of the plants for your garden.



Craig’s dense planting technique provides opportunities to grow an abundance of seedlings in a small space and with fewer materials.


In this first of the series, I’m talking with tomato expert, Craig LeHoullier, who describes his unique dense planting technique. Craig has been using this technique for years, and I tried it myself last season, growing over 2,000 seedlings in a small entryway. Craig and I continue our discussion through the first two parts of the series – including the transplanting and hardening off phases.



As those seedlings develop and begin to crowd out each other in their earliest environment, it’s time to transplant each small plant into its own container. This allows for continued root development and better air flow.


In the third part of the series, I discuss lighting with John Porter of the esteemed Garden Professors group. Last year, I switched my grow light system from fluorescent bulbs to LED bulbs. The difference I observed in seedling response was significant, and John shares some interesting perspectives on the subject.

Parts two and three of the series are provided in the Links & Resources section here, so you can follow the process and, then, I encourage you to check out a fourth episode also included below. In episode 083, I took a deep dive into the science of light with Leslie Halleck. This exploration into indoor lighting options and plant response to various light waves and intensity was fascinating and offers insight which will help you make the best choices for your indoor growing too.

I hope you enjoy this quartet of seed starting resources. The garden season is fast approaching, and I’ve just begun another massive round of seedlings for this year. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant seeds are again under LED grow lights in my entryway. Although they were planted just three days ago, they are already beginning to emerge through the surface of the soilless mix. You can follow their progress as I share updates on Instagram.

If you haven’t experienced this process before, I hope you’ll give it a try this year. A large number of seedlings can become quickly overwhelming, however so, start small. When you do, I guarantee that you will find yourself drawn daily to observe the process of new life sprouting and responding to the conditions you provide. As the season progresses, and you begin to harvest food from the plants you grew from small seeds – well, that’s just one of the most rewarding experiences of any gardener.

So, what will you be growing this year?

Links & Resources

Episode 037: Starting Seeds Indoors: The Non-Negotiables for Success, Pt. 1

Episode 038: How to Start Seeds Indoors: The Non-Negotiables for Success, Pt. 2

Episode 039: How-to Start Seeds Indoors: Digging Deeper, Pt. 3

Episode 083: Gardening Indoors: The Science of Light, with Leslie Halleck

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About Joe Lamp'l

Joe Lamp’l is the creator and “joe” behind joe gardener®. His lifetime passion and devotion to all things horticulture has led him to a long-time career as one of the country’s most recognized and trusted personalities in organic gardening and sustainability. That is most evident in his role as host and creator of Emmy Award-winning Growing a Greener World®, a national green-living lifestyle series on PBS currently broadcasting in its tenth season. When he’s not working in his large, raised bed vegetable garden, he’s likely planting or digging something up, or spending time with his family on their organic farm just north of Atlanta, GA.

0 Responses to “091-Starting Seeds Indoors: The Non-Negotiables for Success, Pt. 1 – Encore Presentation”

  • Mayah says:

    Joe, your podcasts are always awesome. I do not grow plants for a big scale but it is always good to hear some tips to make them grow better. I totally agree with you that growing seeds indoor can be rewarding and I know something about it. I do not have my own yard so I have to place everything in my flat and on the balcony. Now I have there a few different species of tomatoes which of course I have grown from seeds. I am trying cherry tomatoes ( ) which I use later in my garden. If someone has a possibility to grow something from seed he/she definitely should try. It is amazing to watch plant sprouting and then blooming!

  • Joe Lamp'l says:

    Thanks, Ann! I agree with you. Even if you don’t have a place to plant your seedlings outside, someone you know surely does. Or you can sell them or give them to a school, etc. But the joy of starting plants from seed and nurturing them along is one of my all-time favorite activities of gardening – especially in the dead of winter when I’m dying to get my hands in the soil and so some gardening activity. I never get tired of this. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!

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