Why You Should be Starting from Seeds
Starting from seeds is something every homesteader should have as a goal. It isn’t always easy and I have struggled with it for years, but it definitely has its advantages.
It’s cheaper when starting from seeds
When I started this farm, we were broke. I mean so broke that at one point we got three months behind on our mortgage and thought we were going to lose the farm. I started raising our own meat, fruit and vegetables not only because we wanted healthy and good quality food (which we certainly got), but also because we wanted to save money.
Have you ever bought a pack of on the vine tomatoes? Holy cow! I just saw them for $1 PER TOMATO.
When you raise your own tomato plants, you will have so many tomatoes that you’ll end up begging people to take them lol. At least until you get into canning.
You can literally save hundreds
When you raise your own seeds, you can literally save hundreds of dollars just by growing your own seeds. If you’re just starting out and you have a tiny little garden (hey no judgment, that’s how we all start), then it won’t cost much to buy transplants. My garden is around 4,000 square feet though. I may not be absolutely dead broke anymore, but if I bought transplants for the whole garden, I certainly would be broke again!
The initial payment of the seeds will pay for itself over and over again.
Transplants cost from #1.50 to $5 or even more for larger plants. On the other hand, you can get up to 100 or even more plants from one package of seeds costing you $2 or $3. The savings you get from starting your own seeds are tremendous.
You have more diversity of seeds
Not only are you going to save money by starting your own seeds, you will also have access to a nearly limitless variety of seeds. There are soooo many more types of plants than the ones you see growing on the shelves of Lowes. Check out rareseeds.com or victoryseeds.com or just google heritage seeds.
Nothing gets me as excited for spring as when the seeds catalogs come in the mail. Ooooo somebody just imported a melon from Thailand. Oh wow look at this corn, it looks like rainbow jewels.
It’s all the different types of plants you can get that makes seed starting so exciting.
Get a jump on the season
The biggest advantage of starting your own seeds is that you can outsmart mother nature. Seedlings can only survive certain temperatures, so you have to wait until the soil gets to a certain temperature or wait until the last chance of frost is over (and hope the weatherman is right).
If you start your own seeds, you can start 4-6 weeks (or longer with tomatoes) ahead of the outdoor planting window. For instance, if you start tomatoes at the last frost date where I am, you’d be planting seeds in mid April. Tomatoes take around 80 days for the first tomato to appear so that would mean we could expect our first harvest in July. Some places don’t have their last frost until mid may which means they’d have to wait until August. That’s a long time to wait!
Side note: When to purchase transplants
If you are just starting out in gardening then I highly suggest you buy transplants. I have killed so many seeds over the years that Ted Bundy ain’t got nothing on me. Luckily seed murders are legal.
For many years, I killed EVERY. SINGLE. SEED. I. PLANTED.
I seriously don’t have a green thumb. I am great with raising animals, but I suck sooooo bad with plants. If you try starting seeds to do your garden and you are anything like me, you are going to be super discouraged when you end up having no garden at all.
Start your seeds and then buy some transplants too.
Start with only a couple garden beds and don’t be too ambitious…like yours truly who started with the 4,000 square foot garden out of the box like a moron. You will get way more food than you think even with a small area (check out square foot gardening for some really efficient gardening techniques that are beginner friendly).
Put those transplants out to grow healthy and productive while you see how good you are at seed starting. If you find you have a brown thumb like I do then you’ll still have beautiful plants out in the garden making all the hard work worthwhile. And you’ll just keep honing your skills and eventually, like yours truly, you’ll get the hang of it.
Another thing you will realize once you are able to successfully start your own seeds, is it is tremendously satisfying. Many of us have gotten into homesteading because we want self-sufficiency. There is nothing as self sufficient, and therefore satisfying, as being able to take a seed, plant it and provide your own food. It gets even better when you have collected the seeds from your own plants and you aren’t even buying them even more.