Start seeds...

There are probably almost as many different ways to start seeds as there are people who start seeds.  Some folks just plant them in the ground.  Certainly doable.  However, if you want to start them indoors during the winter months, you have to improvise a little... and mimic Mother Nature to the best of your ability.

1.  Seeds.  If you haven't already made your own, you HAVE to check out the Lily Auction (see link on sidebar).  I make my own seeds but I still can't control myself on the Lily Auction.  I'm a hopeless case.  Soon, you will be too.  :)

2.  Soil, right?  Well, that's one option.  Be careful with your soil choice.  You don't want anything that's been sitting outside or anything too organic because you'll end up with a house full of fungus gnats and they can suck the life out of your seedlings.  Even with commercial soils, freshly purchased, you can get gnats.  Best bet would be to heat the soil to kill any potential eggs.  Some use the microwave, others scald the soil with boiling water.  I can't comment on one being more effective than the other so it's an individual choice.  

Another option is a non-soil mix.  I make my own.  It's about 75-80% coir and 20-25% commercially packaged cactus soil.  I originally started with 100% coir but found the seedlings were happier with some real dirt added.  I picked cactus soil because its dry and sharp - two things that gnats don't really like.  This recipe is for indoor soil only.  I use something completely different outside.

  Lighting.  Bright southern or eastern windows will work.  Failing that you can provide lighting with regular fluorescent tubes, T5s or LEDs.  Each has pros and cons.  I typically use high output T5 lighting but I also have the LED panels here.  I use a 16 hour light cycle (7am - 11pm) with no scientific basis for my choice, so use your own judgement on that.

4.  Methods.  If there was ever anything that becomes an individual choice, this is it.  You have to end up with the method that works for you, your lifestyle, disposable income, the amount of space you have available, the amount of time you have available, etc.  There is not one method that works for everyone.  I don't even use the same method all of the time.  I change it up depending on circumstances.  And I am notorious for experimentation.  If you hit the back button you will find two webpages dedicated to seed starting methods.