Whether you’re growing herbs, vegetables or flowers, the benefits of starting plants from seed are many! It may seem like a daunting task especially for beginner gardeners who haven’t grown into their green thumb yet. What you probably haven’t considered is that growing from seed can be easier than buying department store plants! Read on for my top 5 reasons to take the leap and start most or the entirety of your garden from seed this year.
Seeds Can Be Very Economical
When you compare the cost of a packet of seeds to the price tag on a potted plant you’re already looking at a massive savings! You’ll be able to grow many starts of a favorite variety for a fraction of the cost of a pre-started seedling from the hardware store. That combined with the added benefit of heirloom seed saving you’ve got yourself a sustainable seed resource for years to come with minimal investment. However, seed shopping itself can become a hobby as much as gardening (trust me, I should know!) so be careful not to overwhelm yourself with too many packets and try to keep the expense reasonable.
Home-Grown Plants Adapt to Your Climate
When compared to a seedling grown in a greenhouse in a warm Southern climate, your home-started plants will fare much better and even produce more AND earlier! By the time you get a hold of that root-bound tomato plant (probably a hybrid, which means you can’t save seeds from the fruit) it’s been through many different levels of stress – and will reflect that in its fruit bearing capability. When you lovingly grow a plant from a tiny seed, you’re giving it the best beginning and the least amount of stress possible, which means a better harvest for you. So don’t be fooled by the gargantuan size of the vegetable starts at the hardware store – bigger doesn’t mean better when it comes to seedlings! If you absolutely want to (or have to, there’s no judgement here) buy some department store seedlings, see my tips on how to shop for nursery seedlings.
Seed Starting = Skill Building
While it may seem daunting at first, seed starting is a wonderful exercise in building your skills as a home gardener. You will learn so much about each variety’s particular characteristics that you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll experience in your first year gardening from seed. These little victories (and failures) are what build your confidence as a grower and season your green thumb.
The Possibilities are Endless
While there may only be three different slicing tomatoes available as seedlings at the nursery, if you’re doing your gardening from seed, the possibilities are only limited by the amount of time and money you have! Even heirlooms can be nearly limitless in selection, especially when shopping for cultivars online. You’ll be able to find vegetables, herbs and flowers in colors, flavors, shapes and sizes you’ve never seen (or tasted) before. These interesting characteristics are what keep most of us home vegetable growers excited and interested for each season. There’s no limit to what you can grow when you start from seed!
Healthier Plants and Better Harvests
When you start your own vegetables, herbs and flowers from seed you have total control over their environment, therefore you can tailor them from germination to meet your own personal needs. Your first harvest will be earlier, and will continue for longer and be more fruitful in quantity; you will have plants that are hardier and more vigorous than if you bought one that was grown and shipped from a balmy Southern greenhouse; and if you use heirloom seeds, these traits will compound year after year when you collect and start your own seed bank.
With all these wonderful reasons why not take the leap and start a few plants from seed this year? For my recommendations on seed suppliers see my post on How to Shop for Garden Seeds Like a Pro. If you have any questions about seed starting please feel free to drop me an email or comment below!