Every year in spring gardeners prepare to stock up their garden with new plants and seedlings. It is common to just buy those at a local nursery, a garden center of even online, but there are huge benefits to growing your plants from seed. What they are and what you need to consider when growing from seed will be explained in this article.
Your are in Control
When you start your plants from seed you can take control over how many plants you need and when you need them. There is no need to just hope that the garden canter will carry your favorite type of heirloom tomato right around that time, when the last frost is over.
If you take the last frost date as an anchor, you can easily calculate, when you would need to start your seeds in order for the plants to be ready, just when you need them. If you want to find out your first or last day of frost I highly recommend you take a look on this page. It offers a great number of interactive maps so you can look up all kind of interesting planting related data.
Your can experiment with rare plants or varieties
Sometimes it is hard or very expensive to get your hands on something other than iceberg lettuce, green salad cucumber and Roma tomatoes. That is a pity because the world has an amazing range of tasty varieties to offer! Often it is far more easy to get some rare seeds than it is to get rare seedlings. So if you want to explore old heirloom varieties you should definitely consider growing from seed.
Have you for example ever heard of the Cucuzza Squash? Me neither until I got gifted two seeds of this rare and extraordinary plant. Since then I don’t ever want to miss it in my summer garden again!
You get strong and nicely adapted seedlings
Of course it takes some practice to grow plants from seeds, but once you got the hang of it you will be very pleased with the results. You will grow strong plants that are not over fertilized or root bound and that therefor are able to settle nicely into their new home, once you transfer them to the outdoors.
If you start your plants right in the garden bed, they will grow up already familiar to the soil and light conditions. Thereby you can eliminate the transplanting shock and your plant can grow strong and healthy.
You save money
When it comes to buying plant one can easily spend a little fortune on seedling and young plants. Seeds on the other hand are far cheaper, sometimes its only a couple of cents for a bag of seeds. And they last longer. You can use the left over tomatoes seeds from 2 years ago without any problem. And if you stick to heirloom varieties and some crossbreeding precautions you can even harvest your own seeds and will never have to buy them again.
Seed swaps, as they are organized countless times on social media, are also a great source of seeds. You just trade in the ones that you have too much for new varieties. And you get to know gardeners in your region at the same time, its a win-win!
You eliminate trash
Young plants and seedlings are normally sold in singe use plastic containers. It might even be, that they have been transplanted into bigger pots already once at the garden center, thereby producing more trash from the tiny, singe use seed pots they first were grown in.
You can of course try to reuse the containers which I always do if I decide to buy a plant. But most time they break or tear in no time.
If you grow from seed you can go for compostable seed trays like reused egg cartons. Or you recycle the trash, that you produce anyway. I grow my plants in the cartons that milk comes in or in yogurt and cream cheese cups. And by taking good care of them I even use most of those containers for several seasons.
So all in all: you definitely should try it!
There might be one very big factor for growing from seed that I haven’t even mentioned: The satisfaction! Is is just wonderful to get into gardening again while there still is snow outside. It gives me such a nice and rewarding feeling to watch my seedlings grow that I just keep doing it, ever since I started. If you haven’t tried growing your own plant from seeds, you should definitely try it!