How to setup an Indoor Seed Starting Station for Mindful Gardening
Nothing says Seed Starting like 1.5 feet of snow on the ground and it still coming down by the bucket load! But jokes aside, the vegetable gardening season is just around the corner. We’re filling up the bags of worm castings seedling mix and getting our seed starting kits all packed up and ready to be shipped out to customers across Canada.
With a few weeks until the earliest seeds are ready for starting, it’s the perfect time to be building out your vegetable garden plan for the season ahead and setting up your indoor seed starting station for the season ahead.
And believe me, once you have setup your indoor seed starting station you’ll be amazed at how much joy, peacefulness, and restoration it brings you - the cornerstones of Mindful Gardening.
How is an Indoor Seed Starting Station different from a Grow Light stand?
The Grow Light stand is simply one of the key components of a seed starting station. Your indoor seed starting station is going to be more akin to an indoor garden sanctuary - an extension of of your outdoor garden that allows you to mindfully garden for those months where it’s too cold to get the hands dirty in the vegetable garden outside.
And this is a critical element on the Indoor Seed Starting Station.
Think of of it as your Garden Sanctuary - and as such, ensure that it includes elements that bring you joy, peacefulness, and restoration.
What makes an Indoor Seed Starting Station so great?
Once you have setup your Indoor Seed Starting Station, you’ll quickly see that what makes it so great is much more than just starting seeds:
- Extending the Season: By starting your seeds in our worm casting seedling mix under Grow Lights, you are able to start getting your hands dirty and gardening months earlier than if you waited to direct sow them outdoors. This is because the indoor environment is significantly warmer than the cold nights outside - giving your seeds a significantly higher likelihood of germination. Additionally, they will not be attacked by garden critters in their infant stages when they are most susceptible - giving them a much higher likelihood of thriving well into the gardening season.
- Overwintering Peppers: Not only can you start seeds earlier in the year, but you can also bring many plants inside from your outdoor garden to grow in ideal conditions through the winter. My favorite example of this is with pepper plants which are actually perennials. These pepper plants can put on foliage growth in your seed starting station all winter and then go back into the outdoor garden at a far more developed stage than if you started them that year.
- Microgreens: Additionally you can begin exploring into Microgreens where you grow an entire crop within just a few weeks to have fresh garden greens all through the year. The best part about microgreens is that their entire growing length is spent in your seed starting station before being harvested and put on a plate!
- Trials: I love approaching gardening as a mindfulness practice. Just like yoga, a practice opposed to something to be perfected. As such, I am always doing little experiments and trials and practicing - and by having an indoor seed starting station I can do this 12 months per year. Early on as a gardener, it was experimenting with worm castings and compost instead of traditional seedling mixes that allowed me to see how much better the plants grew when compost and worm castings were mixed into the seedling mix - and served as the basis for developing our [Worm Casting Seedling Mix.
Believe it or not, but these two seedlings were starting on the same day. The difference? The one on the left is how I used to start seeds 3+ years ago when I didn't know how to start seeds successfully. The one on the right is using our Grow Lights and Worm Castings Seedling Mix.
What makes up an Indoor Seed Starting Station?
I’m going to walk you through a few of the favorite components of my seed starting station - but I encourage you to branch out from this if you see fit (and please share any other elements you incorporate into yours!).
Just like my outdoor Mindful Garden, my Indoor Seed Starting Station must bring me joy, peacefulness and restoration - the cornerstones of mindful gardening. As such, there are elements to my seed starting station that are completely unrelated to starting seeds.
Here’s what makes up my Indoor Seed Starting Station (followed by more detail on each below):
- Grow Light + Grow Light Stand
- Thermometer (and heater)
- Seed Library
- Garden Journal
- Worm Casting Seedling Mix
- Seed Cells and Trays
As part of Mindful Gardening, I love finding ways to slow myself down and come into the present. My journey with Mindfulness is on-going and one of the biggest challenges I have is stopping the time-traveling in my head to future events that drive anxiety. But, having intentional pattern breaks has been really helpful in being more present - and one of the best ways of doing that for myself has been with incense and sage.
So, I love to have it on hand, to light a little bit as I get started, activate my sense of smell, bring myself into the present, and then get into the seed starting and gardening tasks at hand.
Burning a little incense to start the seed starting is a really nice way to slow down and come into the present moment.
Grow Light & Grow Light Stand
Having experimented a lot with window sill light and many grow lights, I know how big of a difference it makes on the early development of plants. As such, it serves as the stage for my indoor seed starting station that everything else sits around.
Following these experiments, we now sell my absolute favorite grow light for starting seeds indoors which you can buy here and then have the exact same setup as me (and we can email back and forth on any questions you have!).
And then given that each of us have a unique living arrangement, I’ve put together a post that goes over 4 easy DIY grow light stand options. With this information you’ll be able to determine a space in your house or apartment that can be converted into your indoor seed starting station and begin building your very own garden sanctuary!
I also have pushed a nail into my grow light stand so that I can hang a simply thermometer and always know the exact temperature of my indoor seed starting station.
Most seeds struggle to germinate in temperatures below 70F/21C so having this thermometer on hand allows me to ensure there is always enough heat in my indoor seed starting station. In the event it’s cooler, I simply turn on a little space heater at the bottom that automatically turns off once the temperature climbs above 70F/21C, and back on if it drops below.
For seeds to Germinate, the ambient temperature needs to be at least 70F/21C. Having a thermometer on hand is incredibly useful for ensuring that the temperature in the Seed Starting Station is sufficiently warm.
Given that you’ll be starting a lot of seeds in your indoor seed starting station, it makes sense to have your seeds close by! Historically I have used a photo album to create a “seed library” where I can flip from one page to the next. I know of others that will use an Arts & Crafts box with a multitude of little cells to organize the seeds into.
At this point my collection of seeds has grown beyond either of those options, so I simply have them in a big cardboard box but creating a bit more organization on this front is definitely on my list of To-Dos!
I’m kicking myself for not doing a better job of keeping notes on each gardening season over the past years - and that’s going to change this year by having my Garden Journal on hand in my Indoor Seed Starting Station.
Specifically, I am going to be keeping a close eye on the recipes that I try over the course of the year and which ones I like most so that I can begin to have a collection of my favorite recipes on hand and available for sharing!
Worm Castings Seedling Mix
Lastly, I always like to have a few extra bags of Worm Castings Seedling Mix on hand. Every now and then I’ll get the urge to start a set of seeds, to begin an experiment, or to top up my pepper plants with some fresh soil.
I love having this on hand especially with the worm castings and compost already mixed into the seedling mix as I can start a new set of seeds within a minute rather than having to run around and line up supplies.
The best part about having an Indoor Seed Starting Station
Now that you know what all goes into my seed starting station, it’s over to you to build yours out!
And believe me, the best part is just around the corner.
When you see your seeds successfully break through the surface of the soil for the first time and begin putting out their first set of leaves, you’ll be asking yourself how you ever gardened without an Indoor Seed Starting Kit beforehand! It’s in that moment that you’ll feel such a sense of joy and pride and deeply connect with what Mindful Gardening is all about!
Where do I buy an Indoor Seed Starting Station?
Most important is that your Indoor Seed Starting Station brings you joy, peacefulness, and restoration. Because of this, I encourage you to add to it over time and view it as something constantly evolving. But, to fast track you and get the most critical elements to you all at once, we have put together a Seed Starting Kit that includes our favorite Grow Light, Seeds, Seedling Mix, and much more!
We have spent the last 2 years developing it and determining what’s included and as a result offer a 100% guarantee that you will successfully start seeds with it! If you want to get your hands on one of them simply click here: Mind & Soil Seed Starting Kit:
Hi Jordan. My first signs of green have started to show after one week of planting my seeds with the worm castings and grow light. ….especially the radish! My concern is that the soil is still quite damp. I have not watered since the day of planting one week ago.