When you first start gardening, seed starting is fun and exciting. You’re growing food with your own two hands!
But as the years pass by and you find yourself caught up in the whirl of life, seed starting can begin to feel like a burden, instead of a privilege. And sometimes, we need a refresher on why we decided to take up seed starting, instead of purchasing starts from a local greenhouse center!
So let’s look at the 5 benefits of starting your own seed vs. buying seedlings!
5 Benefits of Starting Your Own Seeds
Starting your vegetables indoors is a wonderful way to take control of your food system, add variety and even save money on the total cost of raising a garden. So let’s dive into this!
Benefit 1: Seed Starting Ensures You Get What You Need
There’s nothing wrong with purchasing your starts at a local greenhouse center. Nothing at all! But here’s the thing: if you’re late or if things sell out early, you’re out of luck! By that time, you may be too far behind to buy seeds and still get a harvest from crops that have a long maturation date.
Seed starting is an excellent way to ensure you’ll have what you need, when you need it. Yes, things can still go wrong (we’ve all lost crops to pests or the weather, right?), but at least you have a plan and can’t trip yourself up by being late to the shopping party!
Benefit 2: Seed Starting Gives You More Options and Variety
When you buy starts from a local greenhouse center, options are limited. Here in my community, our local greenhouse center only carried a handful of tomato, peppers and other vegetable varieties.
And this is true of most places.
A quick flip through your favorite seed catalog will remind you that starting your own seedlings opens the doors to a wide variety of options with nearly all vegetable types! And what gardener doesn’t like options?
Reason 3: Seed Starting Saves You Money
Growing a garden is a wonderful way to save money and live cheaply throughout the summer months (provided you actually use the food).
But the cost of gardening is significantly increased when you purchase most of your starts from a local greenhouse center.
Think about it.
A packet of 25-50 pepper, eggplant or tomato seeds only costs a dollar or two, meaning each seed costs you a few cents (at most). But already started seedlings? Depending on where you live, they can cost upward of $2-$5 per start!
And while I do believe it’s still a worthwhile endeavor, the amount of money you spend on your garden is significantly more when you purchase most of your seedlings vs starting them yourself.
Reason 4: Seed Starting Enables You Seed Save
As a frugal homemaker and gardener, I like saving my own garden seed! Not only does it decrease the cost of growing a garden every year, but over time, plants will adjust to my climate and will be stronger and healthier because of it.
Sometimes you can find and purchase heirloom vegetable seedlings. But most of your greenhouses carry hybrid vegetable varieties. There’s nothing wrong with hybrids…unless you want to save your own seed. Hybrid seeds won’t stay true to type and will revert back to some of the parent characteristics (which may or may no be favorable).
And so? I have to start my own seedlings!
Reason 5: Seed Starting Makes Gardening More Rewarding
Last but not least, starting your own seeds make gardening far more rewarding! There’s something special about planting a seed, watering and watching it grow.
When the time comes to plant things out in the garden, there’s a unique sense of accomplishment that goes with it…and a special wrath for any pest that dares to mess with your starts!
You’re more likely to take care of your garden when you start your own seeds. Because you value what you work for. And on harvest day, the sense of satisfaction and pride is deep and real.
If you’re struggling to get motivated and start your seeds this spring, I hope this helps. There’s no shame in purchasing your starts. But I want to remind you of benefits of starting your own seeds at home! Because there are some real positives to doing it yourself!