When Life Hands You Heirloom Seeds, Just Plant ‘Em!

by Suzan Ferreira
When Life Hands You Heirloom Seeds, Just Plant 'Em! closeup of lettuce seedlings growing in light

Planting tomatoes and vegetables from heirloom seeds is an easy & economical way to get a head start on your growing season. With some simple equipment, appropriate light, & a few wonderful seeds, growing a wide variety of organic vegetable & herb plants indoors is satisfying, & will provide your garden with healthy, productive plants.

Thank you True Leaf Market for sponsoring this blog post. This post contains shared product for review. All opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links at no additional cost to you. Please refer to the Privacy & Disclosures for further information.

For the last 14 plus years, I have been planting a very large, organic vegetable garden from which I preserve, can, freeze, and store a large portion of our food for consumption throughout the year. It was a difficult decision to take a “step back” and plant only what we will be eating fresh this summer. A decision that I am positive we will come to regret when we have no food stores to choose from this winter. However, a well deserved “rest” is needed for our garden beds (and me) 🙂 as well. We will be planting in only our 3 raised beds and instead work to build our soil by planting a cover crop, amending our soil and letting it rest.

I could not refrain this February/March from planting what few seedlings we will need for the raised beds. These little green nubs of life always make me happy, a sign that Mother Earth is re-awakening. And by a “few”, I mean VERY little compared to what I normally grow. In a normal year, I would be starting 150 tomato plants from seed alone, not counting the hot peppers, sweet peppers, eggplant, herbs, and anything else I am giving a try.


My cellar is normally turned into a nursery for 2 plus months. Grow lights, tables, and seed meeting soil, transform this dark space into one of light and life. Take notice of my daughter’s rendition of our garden layout which resides on our wall from when she was in 3rd grade 🙂

This year, I believe we planted only a few tomato plants (15), hot peppers (10) (have to have my dried hots for the winter), sweet peppers (4), a few special herbs and some lettuces. Mostly just fresh eating staples. The exciting part of this year’s plantings is that I am trying some new varieties of heirlooms that I have not before given a try thanks to True Leaf Market and the organic seeds they so generously shared with me!


In early February, I was excited to receive 3 different bundles of their Organic & Heirloom Seeds. I received the following:


By purchasing their collections, it greatly reduces the cost per seed package down to as little as $1.34 per pkg. Not too shabby for organic seed!

Their Organic Heirloom Slicer Tomato Collection contains 7 different varieties including: Pineapple Tomato, Hillbilly Tomato, Black Krim Tomato, Beefsteak Tomato, Brandywine Pink Tomato, Cherokee Purple Tomato & Golden Queen Tomato, four of which I have never tried before this year.

Their Organic Herb Collection consists of eight different herbs including:

  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Thyme

Many I will be direct seeding into my new herb garden area we are completing this spring! Keep an eye out for that update (June edition) in our monthly newsletter, “happenings on the hill”! If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe below to receive it in your inbox!

Their Organic Heirloom Garden Seed Collection contains 16 packets of organic, heirloom seeds (middle pic above) including the staples of carrots, cucumbers & tomatoes to onions, watermelons, and cantaloupe.

I love that their seed packets are made with sturdy, cardboard-like material and include all the normal pertinent information needed for planting. Including but not limited to:

  • Spacing Requirements
  • Germination Times
  • Maturity (approximate days)
  • Hardiness & Light Requirements
  • Growth Expectations


Growing from seed does require a bit of preparation. Mostly in the cleaning up kind. I highly recommend sterilizing whatever pots/cells you will be using to germinate your seeds. This prevents the spread of any disease from seasons prior.


Simply wipe out any residual soil/dirt from the pots/cells, place in a tub of hot water and add a few glubs of bleach. I let mine soak for about a couple of hours.

When Life Hands You Heirloom Seeds, Just Plant 'Em! pot/cell sterilization for growing vegetables from seed

Once soaked thoroughly, rinse well and turn upside down to dry. I bring mine down cellar and lay them out on the top of our water tank (part of our heating/hot water system) where they can dry quickly.

When Life Hands You Heirloom Seeds, Just Plant 'Em! drying sterilized pots/cells for planting vegetable seeds


To prepare my growth medium, I use an organic seed starter mix and mix that with organic potting soil, a ratio of about 3:1. Mix the two together and moisten until a handful can be picked up and held together loosely by squeezing it in your palm as shown below.

When Life Hands You Heirloom Seeds, Just Plant 'Em! soil consistency for growing tomato seedlings


Since I decided to not grow an abundance of plantings this year, I decided to give my normal germination methods in the cellar a rest as well. I decided to germinate using the “greenhouse” method and instead of using grow lights and heat mats, brought the whole kit & caboodle up into the light. Literally.

I have a rather large island that I set up for planting right next to the kitchen sink. I fill my cells/pots down in the cellar and bring them up to the kitchen where I can easily work. Shown below are a few of my choices that True Leaf Market shared with me.

When Life Hands You Heirloom Seeds, Just Plant 'Em! seeding station on kitchen island


Follow the instructions on each seed packet for depth needed. A general rule of thumb is to not plant the seed any deeper than the diameter of the actual seed.

Be sure to stay organized with all your seed plantings! I have created a beautiful Garden Management Planner now available in our Etsy Shop! This beautifully crafted printable planner consist of 25 reuseable pages that are as functional as they are gorgeous. Click the image below to grab yours!

Garden Management Planner image displaying all 25 beautifully curated pages available to download


Don’t forget to mark your individual cells with the plant type & name. I use craft popsicle sticks that I cut in half and write on with a pen. Easy, cheap, and compostable. I also make a note in my gardening journal about how many seeds planted along with the variety name. I make special note of any new additions not previously planted before.

Once completed, this year I covered and placed in front of a south-facing window to germinate.

When Life Hands You Heirloom Seeds, Just Plant 'Em! greenhouse in front of south facing window

Within less than one week, all but my slower-growing options like peppers germinated without issue. Once germination occurs, I removed the “greenhouse” cover to allow proper air circulation.


Having planted these seeds for the first time, I can say without a doubt that I was truly impressed with the germination rate. Normally, I have to re-seed at least a few cells. With these seeds, I experienced 100% germination. Personally, I will be ordering these seeds again in the future growing seasons!

I also love the seed packets themselves. They are made of a sturdy material that will hold up in my seed storing container and can be easily opened and resealed to store. The ONLY drawback to the packaging was that the collections arrived in plastic. As an avid activist, I hope that consideration in the future is made to move away from the use of plastic.

Without hesitation, I would recommend you give these Heirlooms a try. The only thing left to do is to re-pot the germinated seedlings….another day 🙂

When Life Hands You Heirloom Seeds, Just Plant 'Em! seed growth

I would love to hear what you are planting! Be sure to stay up-to-date with us here at IMSL and follow on all social media. See you in the garden soon!

Love, Light, & Happy Sprouts ~

Signature of Suzan from It's My Sustainable Life
When Life Hands You Heirloom Seeds, Just Plant 'Em! pin for Pinterest

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Marilyn Lesniak February 15, 2020 - 4:23 pm

Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too!
Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

Shelly Osborn February 12, 2020 - 8:36 pm

I will definitely will try my seeds this way, last year I didn’t have any luck germinating seeds. I need to get on it! Love all the pictures!

Suzan Ferreira February 13, 2020 - 12:10 pm

Thank you, Shelly! Happy gardening!!

Kippi February 12, 2020 - 8:18 pm

I am bursting just waiting to plant my garden, so I am using your tips and starting them indoors.
Have a great week,

val selby February 12, 2020 - 7:09 pm

I want to have a bigger herb garden this year and I’m asking hubby to create a ladder style planter for them. I wasn’t paying attention that right now is the time to start seeds. I have so many seeds and never remember to start them in time lol So glad I found this post!

Suzan Ferreira February 13, 2020 - 12:11 pm

That sounds lovely! Be sure to stop back and share your end results with us! P.S. I’m happy you found us as well 🙂

Carol February 12, 2020 - 2:24 pm

Love your blog! Wonderful photos and can’t wait to use your ideas to start my garden!

Suzan Ferreira February 13, 2020 - 12:12 pm

Thank you, Carol! So glad you are enjoying the content. Happy gardening!

Christa February 12, 2020 - 5:06 am

I need to start my seeds now. Last year I tried starting my seeds in recycled toilet paper tubes, and all the soil molded. Apparently that’s a common problem because of the cardboard. Live and learn.

Suzan Ferreira February 12, 2020 - 12:54 pm

Yes, paper is not our favorite way for starting seeds. If you have not already, be sure to check out our “Alternatives For DIY Seed Planting Pots” for some ideas. Thanks for the read!

danielle February 12, 2020 - 3:44 am

I CANT WAIT to use these tips when the sun comes out here in Montana again!!!

Giani February 11, 2020 - 9:59 pm

I have just landed on your blog today an love it! I have a new allotment- so this is really handy!
Lots of wisdom throughout your blog

Suzan Ferreira February 12, 2020 - 12:56 pm

So happy you’ve found some useful info here! How exciting for you with your allotment. Happy Gardening!

Maria February 11, 2020 - 5:22 pm

This is a great post! The step by step directions with photos (thank you) make me think even I can do this.
Thanks for sharing:)

Suzan Ferreira February 11, 2020 - 6:30 pm

You can at that, Maria! Thank you for the read.

sandi magle February 11, 2020 - 4:37 pm

It’s always fun to see how others go about starting seeds. We have used heirloom seeds in the past, the tomatoes especially! I know it is nice to have a messy place to do this—hubby just sets up on the kitchen table and dirt seems to go everywhere. He prefers the pellets, while I prefer your method–which is the way I will start my flowers. Great post! Sandi, coming from AAHome.

Amanda February 11, 2020 - 3:21 pm

I have really wanted to start an herb garden, but I am running into a few road blocks. First, we have a cat problem. Our next-door neighbor leaves 4 dishes or water and food for the neighborhood stray cats that keep multiplying endlessly, some born in our own front yard. There are literally at least 4 cats in our yard at a time. I’m not sure how to start a garden if the cats are going to be pooping in it… Second roadblock, I have three little kids, one with autism and sensory issues that loves playing in the dirt, so an indoor herb garden seems like a large mess waiting to happen. Any ideas?

Suzan Ferreira February 11, 2020 - 6:38 pm

Hi Amanda~
That’s a lot of cats for sure! Have you tried interplanting in the garden plants that cats dislike such as rue, lavender, pennyroyal, and lemon thyme — so plant a few of these throughout the garden space. That may deter them from going into your beds. As for your son, I would agree it would be difficult under the circumstances to have an indoor herb garden unless it was out of reach for him (maybe on the wall or on a high shelf?). I would deal with the cat issue first and see if that works. Good luck and be sure to let me know how you make out!

Kristin February 11, 2020 - 3:06 pm

This is a great tutorial. My husband and I have been talking about growing a few of our favorites for the past year, but I really have no idea where to start. This has been a great amount of information and I am looking forward to planting our own little garden!

Amanda Suarez February 11, 2020 - 3:01 pm

This is GOALS once we have our own home! I can’t wait to use these tips to start building our own homestead garden!!

Catherine February 11, 2020 - 2:46 pm

Great information! I will be using this tutorial for the upcoming planting season ♥

Amy Jeanroy February 11, 2020 - 2:30 pm

Great article! I am in northern Maine and dreaming of seed starting. I usually jump the gun and end up with leggy seedlings. I’m determined to stay strong this year though.

Suzan Ferreira February 11, 2020 - 6:40 pm

LOL! Been there as well. May the force be with us this year! Happy planting!!

Grandma's House DIY February 10, 2020 - 5:58 pm

Thanks so much for sharing with us at the To grandma’s house we go link party, I’ll be featuring you this week on Facebook, Instagram and on my blog!

Suzan Ferreira February 10, 2020 - 11:49 pm

Thank you for the feature! I’m happy you found this article of use!!

Linda S February 8, 2020 - 2:59 am

this is a great tutorial, Suzan – it really is not difficult, and oh so satisfying to see those seedings grown and bring forth good fruit.

Jane February 5, 2020 - 3:48 am

This is a great info Suzanne! You definitely have a green thumb. My parents buy seeds from Home Depot but I don’t think they paid attention to the brand. Now, I know and I have to tell them 🙂

Suzan Ferreira February 5, 2020 - 1:46 pm

Thank you for spreading the info & for the read 🙂

Olivia Kramer April 12, 2019 - 2:32 pm

I’ve never seen that brand of seeds! They look great. I’ll have to give them a try next season.

Suzan Ferreira April 12, 2019 - 5:29 pm

I used them for the first time this spring. The germination rate was awesome. Highly recommend True Leaf Market’s organic seeds.

Dee March 24, 2019 - 10:38 pm

Good to know, thanks! Pinned ♥

Suzan Ferreira March 26, 2019 - 2:21 pm

Many thanks, Dee!


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