Seed Viability Chart: a good reference chart from Homegrown.org blog on saving seeds. http://www.homegrown.org/profiles/blogs/seed-viability-chart
Page of information on planting dates for our area can be found at the Travis County Agri-life Extension at http://www.co.travis.tx.us/agext/garden/planting/janmar.asp
Home-made pots for Starting seedlings for the garden: This is a great video on making them from newspaper. I used a piece of 2" PVC pipe instead of a glass then set them into trays from the grocery store to reuse the trays. This lets you water the plants from the bottom. I leave 1/2" head room above the plant and do not remove it but do open the bottom. This protects the seedlings from critters in the garden but lets the roots grow out. These retain moisture much better than peat pots and worked well for all seedlings. Styrofoam trays did not work as well as the clear plastic or white plastic ones. The styrofoam seemed to block the heat from the bottom. Not an issue in the summer when there was ambient heat but an issue in the winter. http://www.ehow.com/video_1745_create-seed-starting.html or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW4t_6dTAvA
Starting seeds indoors: Using a good potting mix of compost and organic potting soil (I got Ferry Morris Organic Seed starter mix at Lowes the last 2 years which worked very well). It is generally easier to wet the soil mix before it goes into the cups. It needs to be moist, not wet. Put seeds into the cups at the recommended depth--1/8"-1" depending on the variety. Plant 2-3 seeds into each cup so you get at least 1 plant. You can thin by discarding or transplanting.
A good video on this is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ve9iHounak&feature=related Seeds have specific germination temperatures so the tray needs to be placed where the temperature at the cups is around 65-70 degrees. The top of the refrigerator or freezer works well at my house. There is a very good chart on this website at the bottom mostly for flowers: http://www.backyardgardener.com/tm1.html this is good info for veggies: http://www.cartage.org.lb/en/themes/sciences/botanicalsciences/plantreproduction/SeedGermination/SeedGermination.htm
You can purchase seed mats that are electric or build a mat/box with a couple of 7W Christmas bulbs and scrap plywood that will work too. Once the plants are up and have their 2nd leaves, you can begin to work with them. Seedlings have done best watered with very weak higher N fertilizer solution --no plain water and NO TAP WATER.