While some plants grow from spores, rhizomes, or tubers, many of the plants you grow in your garden come from seeds. Some flowering plants form seeds at the end of their life cycle, while other seeds may form inside the fruit of the plant. When using seeds in your garden, you may opt to purchase them online or at the store, or harvest and use your own seeds from the previous year. Wherever you decide to source them there are several benefits to starting your garden from seed.
One of the most immediate benefits of starting your garden from seeds is the cost savings. Buying seedlings from a garden center can be costly and can add up quickly when you’re planning the perfect backyard garden. A packet of seeds, on the other hand, is relatively inexpensive, and the seeds may even last a few years depending on the scale of your garden.
Seeds do lose viability and germination rates decrease over time, but when stored correctly, most seeds will last two to three years. Certain seeds may even last longer, so if you are unsure, it’s always a good idea to test them first. The float or sink test is an age-old way to determine seed viability. Put your seeds in a glass of water, and any seeds that float likely have a low germination rate.
Another way to save even more money is to harvest your own seeds. Saving seeds from flowering plants and collecting just a few flower heads from your dill, carrot tops, and spinach will provide you with plenty for the following year.
Watch Seedlings Grow
The magic and fun of gardening is seeing your plants grow. Nothing is more exciting than watching your plant burst forth from a tiny seed and grow into a strong seedling. You may miss the first bud, flower, or fruit due to your jungle of a garden, but there is no denying the excitement you get when the empty dirt becomes a plant.
Gardening is a relaxing hobby; so, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your hard work.
Not only is buying seedlings expensive but there are drawbacks to transplanting. Some plants such as beans, peas, and carrots may experience transplant shock which can affect yields and even cause the death of the plant. These crops perform better when directly sown in the ground.
In addition, seedlings from nurseries may not be as healthy. Even plants that are commonly transplanted due to their long growing season may be best started at home. Tomatoes, peppers, and brussels sprouts are examples of crops with longer growing seasons.
Other crops such as kale, cucumber, and broccoli, do well either direct-sowed or transplanted. However, you can save yourself a great deal of time and money by direct sowing your own seeds.
Get a Head-Start
For longer-season crops, such as squash, watermelon, and leeks, it is crucial to start these as seeds indoors about six to 10 weeks before the expected last frost date. This way, they will reach full maturity and be ready for harvest before winter cuts the growing season short. For direct sowing, you can start many crops, such as kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts as soon as the chance of frost has passed, and according to the directions on the seed packet.
Whether you are direct-sowing or growing seedlings, using seeds is a great way to get a head-start on your garden. Instead of waiting for the garden center to open, you can start your plants on your own timeline. This way you’ll have your garden flourishing before the intense summer heat.
Starting your garden from seeds is also the best way to diversify your crops. While it’s still important to select native plants, buying your seeds is a neat way to explore your options. For example, there are over 10,000 varieties of tomatoes.
At garden centers, there are far fewer options, meaning you may be stuck with just the popular ones such as beefsteak, big boy, and baby grape. Order seeds online or join a local seed swap to find local gems.
If going organic is important to you and part of the reason you garden, then starting your garden from seeds is your best bet. This way, you can ensure the seeds you source aren’t genetically modified or treated with synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, or insecticides. Standards vary between countries, so be sure to check packaging based on where you are sourcing your seeds.
Organic seeds can be more costly than regular seeds but the benefits more than outweigh the slight increase. Additionally, once you have found quality seeds, this is another fantastic reason to harvest and store them. Certain seeds can be hard to come by, so be sure to save unique cultivators and don’t forget to label them.
In some regions of the world, the long, winter season, well outlasts the short or non-existent summer growing season. For anyone trying to beat the winter blues, or grow an indoor garden, growing plants from seed can be a lot of fun.
If you don’t have enough light to support seed and plant growth, indoor grow lights are more affordable and stylish than ever. Depending on your climate, you may even be able to start seeds in a greenhouse, cold frame, or garage over winter.
Growing your garden from seeds has a multitude of benefits. From saving you money and adding variety to your garden, to the health benefits for you and your plants, you may wonder why you didn’t dive in sooner. If you’re still not sure, start slow. There’s nothing wrong with planting a few crops from seed and transplanting others you’d rather not grow from seed yet. Gardening is all about the fun of the experience, so go forth and experiment.
What crops do you like to grow from seed? Share your thoughts in the comments!