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Save big money and get just the plants you want by starting them from seed indoors. Starting seeds, like riding a bicycle, takes a little time to learn, but once you get the knack, it's easy.
Choose plants that are easy to grow from seed, such as marigolds, cosmos, sunflowers, and zinnias. Follow package directions exactly. Packets usually specify placing seedlings in a cool (45 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit) or warm place (70 to 85 degrees) for germination.
It's also important to have plenty of light. A bank of unobstructed south windows is ideal, but short of that, try setting seedlings in front of a sunny window on a table with a shop light above it.
Fill an egg carton or a shallow container that will drain well with a potting mix specifically formulated for starting seeds. If growing a large number of seeds, you may consider making your own lightweight seeding soil using sphagnum peat moss and perlite. Sprinkle with seeds onto the surface of the mix and cover with more mix as desired for the seed varieties planted. Set the container in a tray of water to moisten, or sprinkle water on the mix gently with your hands, or use a spray bottle to water the seeds to keep them from being dislodged.
Slip the container into a plastic bag to keep it warm and moist. Position a room thermometer nearby to make sure the temperature is right for the type of seed (check the package). After a few days or weeks, once the seeds germinate, remove the bag.
Provide light as soon as the seeds germinate. Use a sunny south-facing window, a grow-light just a few inches above the plants, or both. Raise the grow-light as the seedlings grow.
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