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Monday, February 14, 2011

Six Reasons to Start Seeds Indoors

Whether you've grown a vegetable garden for years, or are just starting out, there are many good reasons to start your seeds indoors (instead of buying plants). It's not as hard as you might think. Here are eight great reasons to try it this year:

It Saves You Money
This is always a great motivator, but even more so these days when most people are feeling the crunch. The cost of a packet of seeds is generally in the ballpark range of the cost of one plant. If you go the packet of seeds route, you'll get a dozen or two (or even more) plants for the same amount of money investment. The savings is significant.

It Opens Up Your Options
Last year I grew two different kinds of luffa (yes, the sponge, which you can also eat), and an out-of-the-ordinary variety of cucumbers. None of this would have been possible if I wouldn't have started my own seeds. Buying packets of seeds to start on your own allows you an almost endless variety. Although you might be able to find an occasional exotic plant start, most growers stick to the known best sellers, so your options are more limited.

You Create a Longer Growing Season
Some vegetables need a very long growing season-longer than you might naturally have where you live. Starting your plants indoors allows you to get a jump-start on the season by growing them in a protected environment for a few weeks before you transfer them outside.

Your Plants are Tougher
Since growers get paid better if they grow plants fast, they often create conditions that promote fast plant growth. However, these conditions aren't necessarily the best for the plants. Because they (the growers) are good at what they do, they can create a near perfect environment to grow plants, but it also makes them weaker than the ones you can grow at home in more imperfect conditions.

You know that old saying, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger", right? This holds true with starting seeds indoors as well. Chances are, your house temperature isn't set at a constant, steady level 24/7, you may forget to water your plants one day, or over-water them the next. In the end, you will have stronger plants because of these less-than-perfect plant growing variables.

You Get to Choose the Ingredients
If you want organic plants, you know for sure you've got them if you start them from home and control their environment. You get to pick the soil, the additives, the kinds of seeds you use, etc. Most of these options are taken away from you if you buy plants from the store.

You Can Use Your Own Seeds
If you saved seeds from your garden last year, you can use them to start your garden this year. This gives you even more control over and knowledge about what you're planting and where it came from. Not only that, it also saves you more money.

Kerrie Hubbard lives in Portland, Oregon with 10 chickens, 1 cat and several small raised bed gardens. Her website, City Girl Farming ( ) is an urban guide to raising and growing your own food in small spaces.

Simple: Just Add Water - Outdoor Gourmet Meals -


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