If you plan to do some gardening with your children this spring and summer, you may be wondering about starting your garden from seeds. There are advantages and disadvantages. I actually do a combination of seeds and transplants, and I’d like to tell you why. I’ll begin by sharing the positives and negatives of starting seeds indoors.
Advantages of Starting Your Garden with Seeds
- It’s inexpensive. You can get a huge harvest from a small amount of seeds!
- You can store seeds for up to 3 years.
- They are easy and quick to plant.
- You can get an early start if you have a place (such as a greenhouse or very sunny room) to start them in.
- If you plant them directly outdoors, you don’t have to transplant later.
Disadvantages of Starting Your Garden from Seeds
- If you start your seeds indoors, your seeds may not thrive. It’s absolutely necessary for your seeds to get plenty of sunlight in order to produce food so they can grow. If you start your seeds indoors and don’t move them outside soon enough, they may never recover, and they could die. (This article contains a chart with information you can use to determine your planting zone.)
- Your transplants may be fragile. What will happen to the seedlings that you start indoors in March? Will movving them from indoors to outdoors be too much for them? The process of moving seedlings from indoors to outdoors is called hardening off, and it can be a tedious process. I found that it was too much work for me. Rather, it’s much easier to buy young starts from a good greenhouse. They will fair well for sure.
- Thinning. You will have to do this unless you know exactly how many seeds to plant in the given space. I hate thinning and find it better to snip extra sprouting plants with scissors than to tug on them–potentially damaging the roots of the remaining plants.
The bottom line is that starting seeds indoors can be a waste of time and effort unless you have a greenhouse or solarium. I recommend sowing seeds directly in the soil outside after danger of frost has passed.