There’s no doubt that gardening can be an expensive hobby, especially if you’ve got a huge garden. Whether you’re growing annuals, perennials, vegetables or herbs, these can all be grown from seed…which brings up the question: can you save money by seeding your own plants rather then buying them as mature plants?
Absolutely! You can save a lot of money going this route…but, you’ll need extra supplies, extra room, extra time and effort in order to successfully grow plants from seed. It’s not for everyone but there is certainly a big sense of accomplishment when you’re able to brag to your friends and family about it all.
Seeding Your Own Plants
First thing you’ll need to do is acquire a collection of various seeds to meet your needs for your garden. You can order seed catalogs from different seed companies in order to help you start planning. If catalogs aren’t available, most companies have an online version with great pictures and descriptions.
Seed company websites are generally jam-packed full of useful tips and advice.
Depending which zone you’re located in (we are 4b), you’ll want to start ordering seeds around January and have them ready to go. Depending what you’re growing, you will need to start seeding in February/March…of course each seed will have different sowing times so consult each seed pack for instructions.
Other than seed, you’ll need to have a few other things in place: containers, soil, fertilizer and a well-lit, warm area in your home. As I mentioned earlier, most seeds will need to be started quite early in the year so you’ll need to care for your seedlings on a daily basis until it’s time to transplant them outdoors.
Buying Your Plants
If seeding plants doesn’t sound appealing to you, then visiting your local garden centre is your best option. Garden centres offer mature plants ready for planting…what you see is what you get. You can see the size/color of flowers, smell the herbs, see the fruit on vegetable plants – all before you fork over the cash. Another advantage of buying plants is the selection of different varieties. Not all varieties are available in seed format to the general public, in other words, seed availability can be quite limited. Garden centres also offer “vegetative” plants. These are special varieties which are patented and designed to perform much better than their seed counterparts.
By shopping at your local garden centre, you can also get one-on-one help from knowledgeable staff members. Properly trained staff can help you choose which plants would fit best in your garden. Garden centres will also have a great selection of beautiful hanging baskets and containers which will instantly beautify your back porch – who says you need a big garden? Some people prefer to just have a “splash” of color with very little maintenance.
Certainly the decision is yours and some gardeners prefer to “start from scratch” with seed and see their gardens evolve. Even though buying plants is more expensive than seeding your own plants, the investment will last you all season. 🙂