There are certainly numerous options out there for getting your spring garden started. When I first began, I would go to the local nursery around May and get all the plants that I thought would be delicious to eat. I would then go back in June to replace all the plants that I had killed. It was a vicious cycle. So let's just say that I was not into starting seeds indoors in my early gardening days. As my skills improved and I fell in love with gardening, I began experimenting with starting seeds indoors. This has become an annual project and gets a bit more sophisticated every year. I used to start all my seeds at once, and my house would be filled with seedlings anxiously anticipating the last frost, so they could get in the ground. This all worked out pretty well for me, but I was just swimming in plants for a few months. I finally decided to do something revolutionary… I followed the directions on the seed packets. This allowed me to stagger my seedlings. I started my celery and kale indoors, 12 weeks before the last frost. 4 weeks later I started all my tomatoes and peppers, 2 weeks later I started Okra and Sage, and 2 weeks after that I started all my cucumbers. By the time the last frost date came around, I still had a large number of seedlings, but at least I hadn’t had 50 seedlings hanging out since the end of February.
I try to keep this annual project as cheap as possible. The majority of the cost is from quality seeds. I try to get organic seed whenever possible and I go with an organic seedling mix. My favorite is Sungro Black gold seedling mix, but there are other quality seedling mixes out there. I try to use things around the house as much as possible to start the seeds in, empty egg cartons, plastic clamshells that fruit came in, toilet paper/paper towel tubes, even eggshells are great homes for seedlings, and all of these except for the clamshells, you can plant right in the ground with the seedling. Once the seeds are planted, I do use a grow light. I didn’t do this for years, and it wasn’t totally necessary, but it certainly helps. This isn’t anything fancy either, just a 45 dollar grow light from Amazon. So with all this being said, this begs the question… Seeds or Plants? What is everyone's opinion and or preference, and if you do seeds, what are some insights and strategies that have gotten you to planting day? Do you use grow lights or heated mats? What kind of medium do you prefer, or do you skip seeds altogether and go straight for the plants? Let me know below.