Do you want to learn how to start your vegetable or herb garden from seeds? This guide will cover everything you need to know from materials to how to find heirloom seeds.
Why start from seed?
It can be confusing why you should bother with seeds when you see beautiful seedlings that are ready to plant at your local garden center.
Here are a few reasons why you should start with seed:
For starters, seeds are certainly a lot less expensive than buying seedlings. For as little as under a dollar, you can produce dozens of plants.
You can experiment with different varieties of your favorite herbs and vegetables. Often, garden centers only carry common herbs and vegetables because they cannot use the shelf space on items that won't appeal to most people.
With seeds, there is a lot more variety thanks to the little amount of space they take up.
Planting seeds is a wonderful activity that the whole family can get involved with. Children as young as two years old can even get involved and people of all ages will enjoy watching their seedlings grow and develop.
How to get started with your seeds
The quickest and easiest way to start your seed garden is to visit your local garden center.
They will carry everything you need to get started growing your seeds:
Peat soil pellets (a special potting soil designed to sprout seeds) or potting soil
Pots or grow trays
Simply place the peat soil in the pot or grow tray, soak it in water for a few minutes, then place a few seeds in.
Keep the grow tray or pots in a sunny, warm area and keep them moist but not too wet.
Once your seeds have sprouted, you will need to transfer them to larger pots or to an area in your garden.
Why not experiment with a few heirloom plants?
Heirloom plants are varieties that you won't find in your local grocery store and often have great flavor. If you want to experiment with heirloom varieties or other exotic plants, contact your local garden club. They are always happy to share their resources with you and often have seeds available as well.
Seed catalogs are another great resource for hard-to-find seeds. Most seed companies have online ordering capabilities and will gladly send you a copy of their catalog as well. Seed catalogs are a great resource in themselves and are a great place to gather ideas for your garden.
How long will it take for seeds to grow?
Most seeds take between 7 and 14 days to sprout. The back of your seed packets will have information on each plant's germination period.
After your seedlings have sprouted, let them grow for another 2-3 weeks, or until they are about 4-6 inches.
Transplant them to a prepared area in your garden or to larger herb pots that will give them plenty of space to grow.
Transplanting is a very stressful activity for your plants, so you should be sure to plant them in an area or pot that will accommodate their full growth. Be sure to read our guide about how to start your garden.