Our 7 Favorite Seed-Starting Tools

As the growing season approaches, there is a lot of flipping through seed catalogs, browsing the Internet for the perfect grow light, and garden planning going on. We thought it would be fun to poll our TGN team members about their favorite seed-starting products and tools.

Every member of The Grow Network team shares our Community’s values and produces at least some of our food and medicine—more and more as we experiment, learn, and “grow” in gardening and homesteading wisdom! And since it’s not always easy to decide which product is the best, we thought we’d share our favorites to make your seed-starting adventure a little simpler!

TGN Team Favorites: Seed Starting Tools and Product Recommendations

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Anthony Says: The Hori-Hori is my all-time favorite gardening tool. Pretty much anything from grafting fruit trees to starting spring seedlings, the Hori-Hori knife makes the job a little bit easier! 


  • Double-edged blade—one side serrated, the other extra sharp
  • Embedded graded ruler
  • Replaces tools like trowels, weeds pullers, digging tools, bulb planters, and more! 
  • Features a comfortable wooden handle and ships with a leather sheath

WIDGER/TRANSPLANTERMarjory Wildcraft's favorite Transplanting Widger

Marjory Says: I love using this transplanting widger when I am creating tiny rows to start seeds. It works so great for moving small amounts of soil!


  • Ergonomic hardwood handle
  • Tempered and hardened stainless steel
  • Rust resistant
  • Ideal for plug plants and transplanting


Jiffy Seed Starting Greenhouse

Marjory Says: The little Jiffy Greenhouses make it really easy to start seeds indoors. Plus, they fit nicely into a windowsill if you don’t have any grow lights!  I know, I know—it’s a lot of plastic. But, you can reuse the greenhouse and purchase replacement peat pellets.


  • Slender design, making it easy to store and use on a windowsill
  • Clear plastic dome retains heat, creating an optimal seed-starting environment
  • Starts 12 plants from seeds or cuttings
  • Pellets expand to form pot and soil all in one


Ruth Says: I already own several of these EarlyGrow propagators, and I use them all the time to start all of my seeds indoors. I like to use them in conjunction with reusable plastic pots and Jiffy Organic Seed Starting Mix. The reason I LOVE these propagators is that they have little vents on the top that allow oxygen in and help prevent molding of the soil. And they’re reusable!


  • Made of high-quality, sturdy plastic
  • Shatterproof
  • Reusable
  • Vented dome to control humidity levels


Jimerson Says: Smart Pots are great because they let oxygen in from all sides for increased growth! I found them to be great for newbies because it helps to prevent overwatering. They also help to prevent mold growth, root rot, and root ball formation by air pruning on the sides. Great for indoor and outdoor use. I really can’t recommend these enough!


      • Soft-sided fabric aeration container
      • Retains shape
      • Provides aeration to enhance root structure
      • Allows excess heat to escape


Marjory Says: When I just don’t have time to make my own fertilizers, I like to use a liquid seaweed fertilizer to help boost up the mineral content available to the seedlings!


  • Pure seaweed extract
  • Promotes vigorous root and stem growth
  • Contains trace elements



Jimerson Says: For those of us who grow indoors or live in apartments, this full-spectrum LED grow light is top notch and not overly expensive (relative to others).


  • Full-spectrum LED grow light
  • Emits wavelengths which are fully absorbed by seedlings
  • Works for both vegetables and flowers
  • Easy to assemble
  • Energy saving and eco-friendly

What Do You Think?

What are your favorite seed-starting tools? Let us know in the comments below!


This is an updated version of an article that was originally published on January 12, 2018.

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  • Delores Nelson says:

    How do you make your own fertilizer?

    1. Merin Porter says:

      Delores, you can find some great recipes for homemade fertilizer here: https://thegrownetwork.com/15-simple-and-inexpensive-homemade-fertilizers/ :), Merin

  • mcmahandvd says:

    I simply dig holes about 3 gallon size in my garden put all except meat garbage in them grass c lepings about 4 or 5 inches cover with a cup or 2 lime cover up with a little dirt just throw a cup to 3 around whatever you plant .100% organic.

  • Lance says:

    The TDS tester mentioned above is NOT a pH tester, but test for disolved solids, not the same thing.

  • cagardner26 says:

    The Maxicrop Liquid Seaweed you have listed in your article says on the label that says that this product is not intended for agricultural use on any food crop. I find it strange that this was a chosen product for this article.

    1. Ruth Reyes-Loiacano says:

      Hi there. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. The bottle has not always said that. Recently, the EPA has created strict regulations for kelp products. Now, products require certification if they are intended to be used for edible plants. Until the process of applying for certification is completed, this and similar products can no longer market as intended for agricultural crops.

      1. Ruth Reyes-Loiacano says:

        Here is an article that explains if ver well – https://www.planetnatural.com/seaweed-extract/

  • Heather Duro says:

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE dont recommend Jiffy products, its a Monsanto owned company! https://www.thealternativedaily.com/monsanto-owned-companies-to-boycott/

    1. Declan says:

      Thanks for the list. I think Jiffy pot is a completely different company from Jiffy food/ peanut butter.

  • Scott Sexton says:

    I’ve had that Hori Hori knife on my wish list for a while now. But I just bought a Garden Creature broad fork. So that’s my “toy” for right now. Love the list.

  • Stephen Bolin says:

    Thanks for the good advice here – and interesting list! I have 2 – 4 foot fluorescent grow bulbs in my basement. When I start seeds, I let them grow to a few inches, then either transplant them to my outdoor 2′ x 4′ cold frame – to harden them off, or if the timing is right, directly into my garden.

    I’ve had up and down success with planting seeds. But this year I am more committed to being successful, because I’m moving more into medicinal plants, and seeds are sometimes the only way to start certain plants.

    I’ve had much better success with buying my garden plants at my local farmer’s market – and then transplanting them into my garden. They have quite a good variety, at a great price. But they don’t carry many Medicinal plants.

  • Scott Sexton says:

    Just got my Hori Hori knife a few days ago. I love it! I had no idea it would be so convenient. I’m using it all the time. And I’ve got a couple of those smart pots, but I haven’t had a good chance to try them out yet. Let’s see … what next? I think I’ll set my sights on a widger. …although, that domed propagator looks pretty nice too. Hmm…

  • Ed Bronner says:

    For our back yard garden the 2 inch soil block maker is helping a lot. For the quantity of seedlings and the garden spacing the 2 inch block works well. Heavy duty 10/20 trays help a lot as a full tray of blocks with seedlings gets heavy.

    The first planting of spring crops are already started under lights, bathroom bar fixture with 3 100 watt daylight LEDs, for our zone 6 garden; beets, cabbage, celery, lettuce, and swiss chard. First couple of hours hardening off was yesterday. Now we get rain for several days. Second planting started 2 weeks after the first is just breaking ground in the blocks. We hope the staggering extends the harvest and does not give us flush and famine.

    Happy Spring, well in about 3 weeks, and much success in your little Edens.

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