The 7 Best Seed-Starting Kits, According to a Master Gardener – Treehugger


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Get a jump on the season and save money by starting your own plants from seeds

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The Rundown

"This affordable seed starting kit has everything you need to get started growing your own veggies, including the seeds."

"Perfect for the beginner or seasoned grower, no matter what kind of setup you have."

"Jiffy is a well-recognized name for seed starting, and this kit really does make it simple."

"With this kit’s biodegradable peat pots, you can transplant your seedlings directly from the tray into the ground."

"With energy-efficient LED lights, you’ll be able to use this grow light season after season."

"This is the unit you’ll want if you’ve tried growing seeds in the past without much luck."

"With room to grow about 32 plants on each shelf, you should have plenty of space to experiment with different plants."

Starting your own plants from seeds is one of the most rewarding parts of gardening. Whether you’re eating something you grew or watching a hummingbird buzz around your flowers, it’s truly amazing to think about it all starting with a tiny seed. Plus, it’s incredibly inexpensive to grow from seeds. You can seriously save hundreds of dollars each year by learning how to start your own seeds successfully. 

Not only will it save you money, but it’ll also give you a huge head start for the growing season. By starting your seeds indoors or in a greenhouse instead of the ground, you’ll have strong, healthy plants ready to go once the risk of frost has passed. Seed starting isn’t rocket science, but you can give yourself an extra advantage by having the right supplies.

Here are the best seed starting kits to consider:

Best Overall:
Mountain Valley Seed Co. Salad Seed Starter Kit

If you're looking for a seed starting kit that includes everything from the seeds to the container, this is it. The Mountain Valley Seed Co. Salad Kit comes with six types of non-GMO seeds, including cherry tomato, Romaine lettuce, carrot, mixed greens, cabbage, and radish.

To help ensure these seeds are successful, the kit also comes with a seedling tray and lid to help keep moisture in, grow medium, seed label sticks, and instructions. You can use this kit to get a head start on the growing season, before transplanting seedlings outside. You can also put the tray in a sunny window to start your seeds, and transfer them to larger indoor containers (also long as they have plenty of light!) for year-round growing.

Larger versions of the same kit with more gear and seeds are also available. Mountain Valley also offers a Culinary Herb Seed Starter Kit (view on True Leaf) and a Flower Collection Seed Starter Kit (view on True Leaf).

Best Seed Starting Tray:
Burpee SuperSeed Seed Starting Tray

These are new and improved seed-starting trays from Burpee. They are perfect for the beginner or seasoned grower, no matter what kind of setup you have. The trays include silicone pop-outs cells, which makes it easy to transplant your seedlings to their next growing spot. All the rows are labeled, helping you keep track of what you’re growing where.

You can reuse the silicon pods time and time again. Just add soil or pellets. After you get one set of seeds growing, you can pop the unit into the dishwasher for quick cleaning. This tray here has 66 separate pods for growing, and an eight cell tray is also available (view on Burpee).

Best Budget:
Jiffy SuperTrive Seed Starter

Looking for quick and easy? Jiffy is a well-recognized name for seed starting, and this kit really does make it simple. Just add water to the pellets, which come with the kit, and they’ll quickly expand to fill each cell. Then add any seeds you want—with 50 spots in this kit, you’ll have a great start for your veggies and flowers. This is a great and affordable starter kit.

Keep in mind that it’s always good to grow more than you think you need just in case some seeds don’t make it. It’s also good to put a few seeds in each cell so you can see which ones germinate and thin them out later.

Biodegradable Kit:
ACT Biodegradable Seed Starter Kit

With this kit’s biodegradable peat pots, you can transplant your seedlings directly from the tray into the ground. You have everything you need to get started, including three trays (with transparent lids), 80 miniature planting pots in two different styles, and bonuses like a seed dispenser and gardening gloves. Use this kit season after season, just replace the peat pots as needed.

With this and other kits, be sure your seeds get lots of direct sunshine or light. If you don’t have a good light source, you’ll want to consider investing in grow lights for optimal development of your plants.

Best Grow Light:
AeroGarden 45W LED Grow Light Panel

If you have the right light, you can start seeds in just about anything, so consider investing in a unit like this. This grow light is perfect to hang from above or use the stand it comes with—it rotates as needed. The panel is the perfect size for a seed tray, and with energy-efficient LED lights that will last more than 30,000 hours, you’ll be able to use this season after season.

The mix of red, blue, and white lights will give you fast results and strong plants. It’s even good for maintaining herbs year-round. Combine this light with a hydroponic system or any other seed-starting method you use. It’ll definitely help you get you the results you want.

Best for Reliability:
Super Sprouter Deluxe Propagation Kit

This is the unit you’ll want if you’ve tried growing seeds in the past without much luck. With the greenhouse-like dome and the additional light, it’ll give you the extra edge you need to finally be successful.

At first glance, it looks like most basic seed-starting kits with the simple black tray. Then the vented dome will help you create that perfect growing conditions with your seedlings. Plus, the grow light will make sure your plants get the hours of light they need to get a strong start. It even includes a little booklet, giving you tips on starting plants from seeds or cuttings.

Be sure to do a little research with this about when to start your seeds. It can be tempting to get growing as soon as possible, but timing is important. Ideally, you’ll move your seedlings directly from the dome to their garden bed or pot. You might want to find a seed-starting schedule for your area or ask at your local garden center.

Best to Maximize Space:
Burpee Two Tier Lighting Cart

There’s something nice and neat about having your seed starting contained in a designated space. If this sounds appealing to you, then this shelf unit, complete with lights, is perfect for you!

This unit includes two shelves, two adjustable lights, and it sits at 40 inches tall. Each tray measures 22 x 11 inches, and can hold about 32 plants on each, so you should have plenty of space to experiment starting different kinds of seeds. The shelf is made in the United States, and requires minimal assembly.

Final Verdict
If you're in the market for a seed-starting kit that includes trays, soil, and seeds, then we recommend the Salad Seed Starter Kit from Mountain Valley Seed Co. (view on True Leaf). The SuperSeed Seed Starting Tray (view at Burpee) is a staple piece for seed starting.

More Seed Starting Resources

If you’ve tried seed starting in the past without much luck, don’t be afraid to try again. Often, the failures can be narrowed down to just a couple of main issues: Not enough light (the plants become “leggy”) or too much water (they don’t need much).

For all the basics on how to start seeds indoors, start with this article. You can also learn about damping off, another main concern, and how to avoid it here. You might want to start with seeds that are easier than others like the examples in this article. It’s definitely worth the effort to figure out how to get it right. 

Why Trust Treehugger?

Treehugger wants to help you grow year-round, allowing you to be more sustainable and self-sufficient. The author, Master Gardener Stacy Tornio, lives in Wisconsin so she knows how important it is to extend the growing season as much as possible. She’s been gardening since she was a kid and writing about plants for 15+ years.

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