For many of us, winter just can’t leave soon enough. At the end of fall, I’m usually ready for a break in the warm weather and work. Winter is wonderful for catching up on reading, movies we’ve missed and binge watching Netflix. But soon enough, I start getting stir crazy and eager for the warmer weather to come back again. If you’re itching to get your hands dirty, then starting seeds will let you do that, without the cooperation of the weather.
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There are two different ways that you can plant your garden. You can either buy seeds and start them yourself, or you can buy plants. If you buy plants, you’re essentially paying someone else to start your seeds for you. If you have some spare space in a garage or spare room for a few weeks, then you should be planting your own seeds. Stop paying someone else to do it!
Starting seeds indoors is very simple. You’ll need containers to plant in, a germinating mix (not soil), and light. There are so many ways to start seeds. You can purchase seed starting trays, peat pots, or you can even get creative and use toilet paper rolls or even K-cups to start seeds in. No matter how you choose to start them, you’ll be glad that you did.
There are many benefits to planting seeds indoors.
They will cost less.
As I mentioned before, when you purchase plants for your garden, you are paying someone else to start plants for you. You can purchase the materials to start seeds literally for pennies on the dollar. You’ll save yourself so much money if you start them yourself.
Many containers can be reused, like these, so once you buy them, you’ll be able to reuse them. The containers that you plant in is one of the larger expenses unless you need additional lighting. Reusing containers will allow you to cut costs even more.
Seed packets are quite cheap. For example, you can purchase a pack of cucumber seeds for $1.99. There will be approximately 30-50 seeds per pack depending on the variety. Even if there are only 30 seeds in the pack, you still get 30 seeds for less than $2.00! If you purchased plants, you’d easily pay that much for 2-4 plants.
One of the great things about starting your own seeds is the ability to be picky. There are endless varieties of almost every garden plant out there. Take tomatoes for example. There are tomatoes that are bred specifically for sauce making, like Roma tomatoes. There are tomatoes that are created to be sweeter, or more acidic, or with fewer seeds. You can find a plant that will produce crops that are exactly what you want.
When you start your own seeds, the sky is the limit. When you go to your local garden center to purchase plants, you’ll be much more limited in what you can purchase. The garden center is going to stock the best-selling plants and varieties. This means that they may only carry four types of tomatoes. They may only carry one type of okra or green bean.
Sometimes they only order once, and when the plants sell, they don’t reorder so you may miss out on buying the dill plants you’ve had your heart on. Trust me, I couldn’t buy a dill plant for the life of me last year. I should have started dill seeds!
Starting seeds is the way to go, especially if you are looking for something specific or want heirloom plants. You can also use seeds to start native plants to use in your yard. To read about how native plants will benefit your farm or yard, click here.
Higher Quality Plants
When you start your own seeds, its common practice to plant two seeds in each container. Some seeds aren’t going to germinate, so you will probably wind up with some containers that only have one plant. Because of this, it’s a good idea to start more seeds than you think you will need.
When the time comes to transplant the plants into your garden, you can choose the seedlings that are the most vigorous. These will thrive in your garden and will be more productive for you.
When you purchase plants in the garden center, there isn’t a good way to compare the plant’s vigor to plants of the same age. Plants may be sold in groups depending on size, not age. So you may be purchasing a plant that looks the same as the plants it is grouped with, but is actually older and slower growing. Ideally, you want to plant the plants that have a faster rate of growth in your garden.
Starting your own seeds indoors will allow you to pick the strongest plants for your garden.
Did you know that it’s actually been proven that plants grow faster when they are played music? It’s true! Now, I’m not saying that you need to sing to your plants to make them grow faster, but if you start your own seeds, you’ll be in control of how they are taken care of.
You’ll be able to manage their stress, make sure that they don’t get root-bound and are thriving. Seedlings that are healthy end up being more productive plants.
One of the downfalls of raising plants in large-scale controlled agriculture environments, such as large commercial greenhouses, is the threat of pests. Many people who grow plants in greenhouses are aware of the constant threat of pest invasions. Even though the plants are in a controlled environment, because it is done on such a large-scale, there is a threat of pests and bacterial or fungal infections. These can damage or stunt the growth of seedlings and young plants. If you are trying to grow organically, you may be purchasing plants that have been treated with chemicals.
Raising seedlings at home allows you to manage the plants on a smaller scale, the way that you want to manage them. If the plants need fertilizer or soil additives, you’ll be able to tend to them individually, as needed.
One of the best feelings is planting seeds and then a week later, seeing the seeds sprouting. This is especially true if you have children that help you plant the seeds. The seeds start sprouting just about the time that kids start to forget that they planted them.
It’s also a good feeling to know that you saved yourself some extra cash raising the seeds yourself rather than paying someone else to do it. Plus, it allows you to go ahead and get your hands in the dirt, even before the fear of frost is gone.
Starting seeds indoors is an excellent way to start working away the winter blues. You’ll save yourself some money and create stronger plants that will outproduce plants that you buy at a garden center. It’s nice to know how the plants were taken care of, too. You’ll be able to grow plants that you’ve picked out for your needs and wants, rather than selecting what ever the local garden center has. There aren’t many things quite as satisfying as seeing seeds that you planted sprout and grow into productive plants!
Do you start seeds at home? How do you do it? Let me know!