There are so many benefits to planting seeds! Although it can be a lot of fun to go to a nursery and pick out plants to add to your garden, there are many wonderful reasons to grow your plants from seed whenever possible. It’s gratifying to watch your seeds grow into full plants that you grew yourself, from the very beginning, but it’s also very practical, too!
Get a Head Start on the Growing Season
Have you ever felt antsy near the end of winter, like you just need to see some green? Starting seeds indoors can give you a jump on the growing season. It’s a great way to beat the winter blues and give yourself some motivation to start planning your summer garden. This is especially beneficial for those who live in areas with short summers and who want to grow plants that take a long time to reach maturity.
Know Where Your Food Comes From
When you plant your own seeds, you know everything that went into the process. You’re aware of what planting medium you used if you started indoors, or exactly what the conditions of your soil are if you’re direct sowing your seeds outdoors. Seeds don’t carry the risk of introducing weeds or disease into your garden. You’ll have control over the pots that they are grown in, the type of fertilizer you use, and how often they are watered. All of these factors will help you to harden your seedlings off successfully and to establish your plants directly in the environment they’ll be growing in.
Enjoy the Plant’s Entire Life Cycle
Gardening from seed is a great learning experience for adults and kids alike! Everyone could learn a little more about patience and perseverance, don’t you think? You can also learn all about how plants grow. It’s so much fun to take your plants from seed to fruiting and all the way back to seed! You’ll become familiar with the stages your plants go through and learn a lot in the process.
More Varieties Available
It makes sense for local nurseries to carry only the most popular and profitable plants to sell as seedlings. Some plants resent being transplanted, so you won’t be able to find them at all except as seeds. Other plants are not as well known or aren’t fashionable this year for whatever reason. It’s much easier to find the exact seeds you’re looking for and experiment with new varieties.
Compared to seedlings or small plants, seeds are so affordable! For the price of one plant or, if you’re lucky, one flat of seedlings, you could have a whole package of seeds. All you have to do is invest some time and effort to grow them. Even those on a tight budget can usually afford a few packages of their favorite seeds. Those seeds can pay off in a big way when harvest time comes around, too!
Seed Saving for the Future
There are two parts to seed saving. Sometimes you buy more seeds than you can plant in a given year. Depending on the particular variety, many seeds will be viable for 3+ years if stored properly in a cool, dry place. So if you overbuy seeds, you’re not in nearly as much trouble as you would be if you buy too many plants.
You might also be interested in intentionally collecting seed to grow when your plants reach the end their life cycle. Seeds saved from your healthiest plants will have adapted in subtle ways to your unique growing situation. It’s important that any seeds that you’re saving are from open-pollinated plants, however. Hybrids will not breed true and you may end up with a plant that is quite different from the one you saved the seed from.
The next time you visit your local nursery, consider how much more you could grow from seed for a fraction of the cost. Look around for inspiration about what’s possible, but also pay attention to what’s missing. It’s a lot of fun to grow from seedlings, but growing from seeds can take your gardening to the next level!
Written by Teresa Chandler