Hi and Welcome! I sow my seeds in organic potting soil in flats just under the soil and keep them watered. I keep the flats in the sun on my back porch or if the weather gets really cold, I'll bring them inside and find a sunny spot. Since you're in NC you'll probably be having more really cold weather before it's time to plant the seedlings outside in the spring. Here in FLA I'll be able to plant them the end of March or the first week of April. Hope this helps.
Bunny Jo Poole