Affordable Seed Starting Set-Up for Small-Scale Flower Farmers

Helping you celebrate the magic of every season!

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I think one of the biggest misconceptions people have when it comes to starting seeds indoors is that they think they have to have a fancy set-up- especially if they want to grow either a lot of flowers or if they want to grow commercially. And I’m here to tell you that that simply is not true.

As someone who is entering their fifth growing season, I can tell you that I have literally grown thousands upon thousands of seedlings right inside my small farmhouse kitchen. And honestly, it hasn’t even cost me that much money…

So in case you were worried, no, you don’t need a fancy greenhouse, you don’t need a lot of equipment; and you don’t have to invest a lot of money in this project either to get started growing seeds in your own indoor grow space.

I promise you- starting seeds whether you want to start just a few for your backyard garden or you have interest in growing lots, it doesn’t have to be complicated…

So let me show you how we do it!

Now, starting seeds indoors is not a necessary step to growing flowers. The purpose of this process is, really, to get a head start on the growing season. By sowing seeds inside when it’s still cold and then planting seedlings into the garden once the weather has warmed- you’ll be able to enjoy blooms in your garden much sooner.

But if all of this that I’m about to share with you seems like too much then by all means, you can skip this step, and sow seeds directly into your garden once the threat of frost has passed. There’s plenty of fast-growing annuals that do well directed seeded into the ground- things like grasses and sunflowers and of course zinnias– these flowers all sprout within just a few days, so with a little patience, and a bit of care, you’ll still get to enjoy plenty of flowers in just one season.

Seed Starting Supplies:

To start seeds indoors you basically have to give your plants an environment that they’ll thrive in- something that mimics what they’d otherwise receive outside.

>>> Plants need plenty of sunlight to grow- so we use artificial led lights which we hang above our seedlings as they grow. You certainly can purchase fancy ‘grow lights’, but we’ve relied on simple LED shop lights for years now- and they seem to do the trick just fine.

>>> You’ll need some sort of planting medium to actually plant your seeds into. This is another step that I encourage you to not overthink. While it can be tempting to search for the perfect soil mix- the truth is that most any seed starting mix will do. I encourage you to shop your local garden store if possible as you’ll often save on shipping cost. As long as your soil mix is well-draining, your seeds will have no problem growing for you.

>>> To hold your soil in place, you’re going to need some sort of cell tray. Again, don’t over complicate this step as any container that holds soil will do. My absolute favorite seed starting trays are these from Bootstrap Farmer– they’re slightly more expensive than other popular options, but their quality is unmatched and they really do hold up season after season!

>>> Since seedlings need water, you’re going to want to also grab some bottom-watering trays. I use a no-hole tray underneath my seed trays. This way I can bottom water my seed babies. I fill my tray about half full, I place my cell tray inside and it allows the soil to wick up moisture without the fear of displacing seeds- which could happen if I were to water overhead. 

Additional Supplies:

Other tools that may increase your germination rates and help you enjoy more consistent results are: humidity domes and heat mats. These tools can be helpful especially if your seed starting space is cool + dry.

I often refer to these as helpful but not necessary because I can still remember how back when I first started growing seeds, I was on an incredibly tight budget. I didn’t have a lot of money to spare and so I only focused on the items that were absolutely necessary. In my opinion you can get away with not using the humidity domes + heat mat- however, you may need to monitor your growing space a bit more.

>>> When it comes to actually setting up my grow space, I prefer to use simple wire shelving. I’m always tight on space in my tiny farmhouse and so I’ve learned that it’s sometimes best to go vertical- this wire shelving unit is the perfect, creative solution!

A quick tip on shelving: I grow my seedlings on a 6-tier shelf as it gives me the most room. Depending on how many seeds you plan on sowing, you may not need a shelf that tall. Any sized shelf can work for seed starting; however, I encourage you to seek out a shelf that is the same width as your LED lights. This shelf is 48 inches wide which means my LED lights hang nicely above each shelf without any wasted overhang.

Below you will see a picture of my current seed starting set-up. Every year it seems that we add another shelf to expand our growing space- and each time that happens we rely on the same supplies that I’ve shared in this blog post.

If you’d like a more up-close look at this seed starting set-up in action, I encourage you to check out this YouTube video where I share even more details about how we start all of our flower seedlings indoors.

Conclusion

It’s my hope that this post has left you feeling inspired and open to new possibility. As I’ve just shared- with the right tools and a few essential supplies, you can, quite literally, grow the garden of your dreams (even if you are limited on space!).

Wishing you an abundant season ahead!

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Hey there, I'm Britney!

A dairy farmer turned flower farmer growing + selling specialty cut flowers in West Michigan! I think flowers are the best way to savor the magic that comes with every season- that’s why at Two Sisters Flower Farm we grow everything from daffodils in the spring to pumpkins + dahlias in the fall!

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