Are you looking for simpler, more natural ways of starting plants?
One way is to just scatter seeds on the ground, lightly cover and see what happens. This process mimics volunteer plants that come up at their own best timing and in many cases do better than more controlled planting methods. Recently I experimented with sowing onions this way. The feature photo shows the seedlings that have sprung up from seeds I scattered in mid-fall. They sprang right up and should survive the winter. But they may not.
Another more controlled way is to winter sow using small container “greenhouses.” According to Sunny Soleil at The Permaculture Research Institute,
“Winter sowing is the process of setting out our seeds in old plastic containers, and leaving them until they emerge in the spring.”
In this simple method, you set the containers outside and let nature do its thing. The containers provide more protection for the seeds and emerging plants. No need for providing indoor lighting or dealing with the problems that come with indoor germination such as dampening off and white flies. Also, you don’t need to harden off the plants in the spring.