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Essential Seed Starting Supply List for Best Results

Are you looking for an Essential Seed Starting Supply List so you can start seeds more efficiently and successfully? 

Check out this Essential Seed Starting Supply List. This list has 20 different supplies that you can use in any combination. Becoming a master at starting seeds requires practice and testing. But this list of supplies will help you get there faster. 

In this post, I will:

  • Share an Essential seed starting supply list for you to have from.
  • Give you some good ideas for where to get these supplies. 
  • Expose a short guide for HOW you can use these supplies I mention to grow young seedlings. 

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Should you Start Your Own Seeds?

There are a few reasons why you should start your own seeds. Starting your own seeds can be a rewarding experience and can give you more control over the varieties you grow. It also gives your healthy seedlings a head start by planting early. This can be beneficial in areas with shorter growing seasons. 

If you have the time and resources to start your own seeds, it can be a great way to customize your garden. You’ll also grow plants that may not be readily available as transplants. We like to early start plants such as tomatoes and peppers that need a longer growing season. This results in healthy plants that are ready to plant as soon as your zone is out of the danger of frost. 

You might be asking: Where Can I Find Seed Starting Supplies? Supplies are very easy to find. You can look online or at your local garden centers. Let’s dig into the seed starting supply list that are the best choice in starting seeds early.

Seed Starting Trays

Seed starting trays are used to germinate seeds and grow tender seedlings indoors before transplanting them into the garden. They are typically shallow cell trays, each of which can hold a single seed or a few seeds.

These seeding trays provide a home for optimal growing conditions for germination. All you need is the ability to regulate moisture, temperature, and light levels. The trays also help keep seedlings organized. It’ll make it easier to transplant them into individual pots or into the garden when they are ready.

Bottom Tray

Bottom trays are used underneath seedling trays to catch excess water that drains out of the bottom of the pot. They help prevent water from spilling onto surfaces and protect floors and furniture from water damage. Additionally, bottom trays can be used to provide humidity for plants that require higher humidity levels.

Seed Starting Pots

If you only want to start a few plants, choose seed starting pots instead of trays. Seed starting pots are used to germinate seeds and grow seedlings before they are transplanted into the garden. These pots are typically small and made from biodegradable materials like peat, paper, or plant-based plastics.

I even have a friend who has made pots out of cow manure. What an amazing development! You can plant right into the ground. 

Most seed starting pots provide a temporary container for seedlings. This allows them to develop roots before being transplanted into larger pots or directly into the garden soil. Some can be planted directly into the soil, reducing transplant shock and minimizing root disturbance.

Seed Mix

A seed-starting mix is a specially formulated growing medium used for germinating seeds and growing seedlings. It is typically lightweight, well-draining, and sterile to prevent damping-off disease and other problems.

Seed mixes are designed to provide the right balance of nutrients, moisture retention, and aeration. Just what is needed to support seed germination and early seedling growth. They are often composed of ingredients like peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, and sometimes added nutrients to support initial growth.

Using a seed mix can help improve germination rates and early seedling development. Garden soil is usually too dense and may contain pathogens that can harm young seedlings.

Potting Soil

Potting soil is a type of soil specifically formulated for use in pots, containers, and other indoor and outdoor planters. It is designed to provide a suitable growing medium for a wide variety of plants. This soil is typically a blend of several components, including perlite, vermiculite, compost, and sometimes sand or bark. These ingredients are mixed to create a lightweight, well-draining soil.

Potting soil is used for planting and repotting plants in containers. This provides support for the plant’s roots and helps retain moisture and nutrients.

Here’s a good potting soil I like to use when starting seeds.

Seed Packets or Bulk Seed

Seed packets are small envelopes or pouches that contain seeds of specific plant varieties. They typically include important information about the seeds. This information includes: Planting instructions and sometimes specific details about the plant’s characteristics and growth requirements.

You need seed in order to grow vegetables, fruit and herbs. But how much seed should you buy? Well, it all depends on how much you want to grow and how much you can handle at harvest time. We typically purchase bulk seed to plant our large market garden to support other people. Home gardeners who only want to feed themselves don’t need to buy bulk seed. They can purchase smaller seed packets with 100 seeds or less that will help them grow plenty. 

Labels and Markers

Labels or markers are used when starting seeds to identify the different types of seeds or plants being grown. When starting multiple varieties of seeds, it’s important to keep track of which seeds are planted in each tray or container. Seedling labels are typically placed in or next to each seed tray or container.

Plant tags, labels or markers can be as simple as popsicle sticks, plastic tags, or even strips of masking tape. They have the plant names written on them. This helps prevent confusion and ensure that each seedling is correctly identified as it grows.

Seedling Heat Mat

A seedling heat mat is used to provide gentle, consistent heat to the bottom of seed trays. Warmth encourages seed germination and seedling growth.

The heat from the mat helps to create a warm, stable environment for seeds. This can improve germination rates and speed up the germination process. Seedling heat mats are typically waterproof and are designed to be safe for use with seed trays and other containers.

Grow Lights

Grow lights are artificial light sources designed to mimic the natural sunlight that plants need for photosynthesis. They are used to provide light to plants that are grown indoors or in areas with insufficient natural light. Grow lights are perfect for use during the winter months or in dark, shaded areas.

Grow lights are especially useful for starting seeds indoors. They can help plants grow and thrive by providing the right spectrum of light for photosynthesis. They also extend the amount of light they receive each day.

Light Timer

A light timer is used in gardening to automate the timing and duration of artificial light provided to plants. Light timers allow gardeners to set specific times for the grow lights to turn on and off. This ensures that plants receive consistent light cycles.

Consistent light cycles are important for plants, as they help regulate their growth, flowering, and fruiting processes. Light timers can also be used to simulate natural daylight cycles.

Humidity Dome/Plastic Cover

A humidity dome is a clear, plastic cover that is placed over seed trays or pots to create a mini-greenhouse environment for seed starting. The dome helps to retain moisture and heat.

Humidity domes are especially useful for starting seeds that require high humidity levels to germinate. It also helps with maintaining consistent moisture levels during the germination process. They can help improve germination rates and seedling growth, particularly in dry or arid climates.

Watering Spray Bottle

A watering spray bottle is used in seed starting to gently water seeds and seedlings without disturbing them. The fine mist from the spray bottle helps to evenly moisten the growing medium without causing waterlogging or displacing the seeds.

Spray bottles are especially useful for watering seeds and seedlings in small containers or trays. They are also handy for keeping the surface of the soil moist without overwatering, which is important for seed germination and early seedling growth.

Seedling Fertilizer

Seeding fertilizer, also known as starter fertilizer, is used in seed starting to provide young seedlings with the nutrients they need for healthy growth. It typically contains a balanced mix of essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, and iron.

This simple fertilizer is applied to the growing medium or soil before or after planting seeds to provide a nutrient boost to the seedlings as they start to grow. It helps support early root development and overall plant growth, ensuring that seedlings have the nutrients they need to establish themselves and thrive.

Hand Seed Sower

A hand seed sower, also known as a seed dispenser or seed spreader, is a small tool used in seed starting to help evenly distribute seeds over a planting area. It typically consists of a handle with a small opening or chute at the bottom through which seeds are dispensed.

Hand seed sowers are especially useful when planting small seeds that are difficult to sow evenly by hand. They help prevent seeds from clumping together or being planted too closely, which can lead to overcrowding and poor germination. They are particularly handy for sowing seeds in rows or in a specific pattern, ensuring that seeds are spaced evenly for optimal growth.


A widger is a small, handheld tool used in seed starting to help transplant seedlings from seed trays or pots into the garden or larger containers. It typically has a narrow, flat blade at one end and a handle at the other.

The widger is used to carefully lift seedlings out of the growing medium without damaging their delicate roots. It can also be used to loosen compacted soil or to make small holes for transplanting seedlings. It is especially useful for handling small seedlings that are too delicate to be transplanted by hand.


Tweezers can be used in seed starting for a variety of tasks. They are particularly useful for handling very small seeds, such as those of certain flowers or herbs, which can be difficult to pick up and place with fingers. Tweezers can also be used to gently remove seedlings from seed trays or pots for transplanting, especially if the seedlings are tightly packed or delicate.

Additionally, tweezers can be used to remove weeds or thin out seedlings in crowded trays, allowing the remaining seedlings more space to grow.

Oscillating Fan

An oscillating fan is used in seed starting to improve air circulation around seedlings. Good air circulation helps prevent the buildup of humidity and reduces the risk of fungal diseases, such as damping-off, which can affect seedlings.

The gentle breeze created by an oscillating fan also helps strengthen seedlings by simulating outdoor conditions. It can help prevent seedlings from becoming too tall and leggy, as they will grow stronger stems in response to the air movement.

Overall, an oscillating fan is a valuable tool for maintaining a healthy environment for seedlings, promoting strong growth and reducing the risk of common issues that can affect young plants.

Thermometer for Testing Soil Temperature

A thermometer is used in seed starting to monitor the temperature of the growing medium or the surrounding environment. Maintaining the correct temperature is crucial for seed germination and seedling growth, as different plants have specific temperature requirements for optimal growth.

By using a thermometer, gardeners can ensure that the temperature remains within the ideal range for the seeds they are starting. This can help improve germination rates and seedling health, as well as prevent issues such as seed rot or poor growth due to incorrect temperatures.

Germination Station

A germination station, also known as a seed starting kit or seed germination kit, is a complete system designed to help gardeners start seeds indoors or in controlled environments. It typically includes a tray or container, a transparent or dome-shaped lid to create a greenhouse effect, and sometimes a heating mat to provide bottom heat for germination.

Germination stations help create an ideal environment for seed germination by maintaining consistent moisture levels, warmth, and humidity. The transparent lid or dome helps retain moisture and heat, while the heating mat provides gentle bottom heat, which can improve germination rates and speed up the germination process, especially for seeds that require warmth to germinate.

Drying Rack for after seed soaking

After soaking seeds in seed starting, a drying rack may be used to allow the seeds to air dry before planting. This is especially common for seeds that require soaking before planting to help soften their outer shells and promote germination. After soaking, the seeds are spread out on the drying rack to allow excess moisture to evaporate, which helps prevent them from rotting or molding when planted. Once the seeds are dry, they can be planted in seed trays or pots to begin the germination process.
Seeds can be soaked in water or other solutions before starting them to help soften their outer shells and promote germination. The soaking time and method depend on the type of seed.

For some seeds, such as beans or peas, soaking in water for 8-12 hours before planting can help speed up germination. Other seeds, like those of some flowers or herbs, may benefit from soaking in a dilute solution of hydrogen peroxide or a seaweed-based product to help break down inhibitors that may prevent germination.

It’s important to follow specific instructions for soaking seeds, as some seeds may require different treatments or lengths of time to soak. Over-soaking seeds can lead to them becoming waterlogged and less likely to germinate, so it’s best to follow the recommended soaking times closely.

What is a basic seed starting guide?

So, now you have your seed starting supply list. Still asking how you start a plant from seed?

Here’s a basic seed starting check list:

  1. Gather your supplies
  2. Fill trays or pots with seed starting mix
  3. Plant seeds
  4. Water seeds
  5. Provide warmth
  6. Provide light using Grow Lights or a Sunny Window for 12-16 Hours per Day
  7. Monitor moisture
  8. Thin seedlings
  9. Harden off seedlings
  10. Transplant seedlings

Remember to check the specific requirements for the seeds you are planting, as different seeds may have different needs in terms of temperature, light, and moisture. This information can be found in seed catalogs and on your seed packets. 

​Grab Your Seed Starting Supply List and Get Started Today.

When I grow certain vegetables, it’s my personal preference to start seeds early that I can grow into my own vegetable seedlings. It not only saves time, but it also saves money. Seedlings at the garden centers can be pricy and rack up your garden budget. 

I hope this essential seed starting supply list was beneficial to you in preparing to grow your own vegetables, fruits and herbs from seed. You may feel like you don’t need all these supplies and that’s okay. Just as long as you have what the plants need for proper plant growth – You will be well on your way to growing your own plant seedlings. 

~ Happy Gardening ~