We're fortunate in where we live. Winters are generally mild, spring comes earlier than many other parts, and the sun isn't quite as low as in the northeast.
There's nothing especially magical or secret about starting plants from seeds, generally speaking. Some seeds benefit from, but do not require, some extra steps like soaking. But, you pretty much just plant seeds in an appropriate medium, keep the medium moist, and keep it well lit.
Admittedly, there exist formulas and rules. Like, plant the seed at a depth 1-2 times it's height or whatever. Something like that. The example rule isn't one that can really be ignored, because if the seed is too deep it will likely rot before reaching the surface, and too shallow a depth will result in spindly plants at best.
Now, keep in mind I'm no expert. This is all based on what I've learned from doing over the years. But, it's not a super complicated process to start seeds. It really isn't. And you can keep quality seeds for at least a few years and still have them sprout. All the basil I planted did sprout, and it was probably 3 year old seed.
Related: I finally got the seedlings planted into pots. They got thoroughly rained on this morning and will get some wind later this evening. I may have over planted a couple of the pots, but I'm not horribly worried. We'll see how things go.