As with everything else having to do with gardening, sprouting your seeds can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make it, before we get to specialized growing mediums and high efficiency LED lights, let’s take a look at the simplest possible solution; paper towels, plastic bags and a bit of water. That’s all you really need to sprout most seeds. Take a paper towel, spread out some seeds over half of it, fold it over one and wet it with a bit of filtered water. Now that the seeds are kept in place by the water, you can fold the towel over again and slip it into a plastic bag and just let them be.
You’ll know that it’s time to plant your seeds when you can hold the bag up to the light and see growth coming from the seeds. They will form taproots first and then the actual sprout. You can plant them once you see tap roots, but I suggest waiting until the actual sprout is slightly visible; just a bit of green. Now all you need to do is plant the seed in an appropriate growing medium for the type of plant you are growing and put it some place that it will get light. Soil conditions and content make a huge difference. Pepper plants are a great example because they need soil that drains very quickly. If they get planted in soil that retains too much water, they will die. Do your research and choose carefully.
The light that you need is a lot simpler, but also more complicated in a way. You can just put your plants in a sunny spot and let them go, but many plants can become easily scorched by the intense rays of the sun. That is why I suggest using LED lights to boost the growth of your plants. They are a much softer light that will still provide what your plants need with a lot less UV light that can sunburn them.
Remember that different seeds need different conditions to sprout and some of the, peppers are a good example again, need warm conditions that can be replicated with a heating pad. I like to use the pilot light of my stove to warm my seeds, but I only put them on the flat part of my stove and well away from the flame. Some people let their growing lights warm the seeds, but this doesn’t work with LED lights because they produce almost no heat at all.
I hope these tips and suggestions help you start your own garden soon. Whether you are a rooftop gardener in LA or have a plot of land in Vermont, good luck.