Get an jump on your garden, lengthen the growing season and save money by growing your own seedlings.

BUY AND PREP THE CONTAINERS

Look for containers that are 2 to 3 1/2 inches deep with adequate drainage holes. To prevent disease, clean them with a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach to 9 parts water.

USE GROWING MEDIUM

Start the seedlings in growing medium. Growing medium weighs less than potting or garden soil and contains no insects or diseases, which could kill the seedlings. Mix the growing medium with water in a plastic bag; it should be damp not wet.

PLANT THE SEEDS

Fill the containers with the damp medium stopping half an inch from the top. Follow the instructions on the seed packet to plant the seeds. Most seeds can be lightly pressed into the mixture.

BE PATIENT

Label the containers and cover with clear plastic, poking holes in the plastic to ventilate. Place them in a warm spot, say on top of the refrigerator, to germinate. Avoid direct sunlight, where the containers can overheat, killing the seeds.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

When the seedlings appear, remove the plastic covering and move them to bright sunlight, or better yet, under florescent grow lights. Keep them away from windows, which may be too chilly for the tender seedlings.