How And Why To Start Plants From Seed

Here’s a new seed starting video from Territorial Seed Company that is another helpful tool in taking the mystery out of starting vegetables and flowers from seed.

It has good, basic information, although I will say that I didn’t agree with the watering method used. I know from experience that when watered from the top as shown the seed starting mix (a sterilized soil-less mix) will only be wet on the top, not down into the cell. I never put the mix in the cells dry, but always pre-wet it before packing into the cells. See my post, Starting Plants from Seeds, for more detailed information. Combined with the video, I think you’ll see that growing your own plants from seeds is easy and definitely do-able.

Why start your plants from seeds when a small garden can be planted easily with a few 6-packs from the store that only cost a dollar? Here are a few reasons I always start my own seeds, and I think once you do it, you will never go back to relying on the stores for your garden!

  • Variety. There are literally thousands of choices available through seed catalogs. The stores and nurseries pick the varieties they like or that are popular only, being limited in what they can offer. It’s fun to try new varieties each year. You can also decided to grow only heirloom or only organic seed, or anything else that floats your boat, without someone else deciding for you.
  • Cost. Even though the 6-packs are not that expensive, a packet of 50 to 1000 seeds (depending on the variety) costs between .95 and $3.00, with most in the $2 range. The seeds will last 3 to 4 years when stored properly (here’s my seed storing method), so right there it’s a cost savings. But if one or two of the seedlings in the 6-pack dies, you have to go back to the store, whereas if you’ve got seed in reserve, you can just start a couple more. This is especially true with things like lettuce that you should be sown multiple times.
  • Timing. When you have your own seeds, you are not at the whim of when the stores have the plants in stock. You can start your seeds when you want in order to have them out at the time YOU want. An example is tomatoes. I like to set some of mine out early using Wall-O-Waters in order to get ripe tomatoes earlier, but it would be hard to find plants in April when I need them. Starting my own allows me to be in control of when I am able to get my plants in the ground.
  • Control. When we start our own seeds, we determine how they are raised and what fertilizers and supplements they get, if any. This is especially nice if you’d like to be as organic as possible making sure the plants do not get any synthetic fertilizers even in their seedling stages.

If you’re all set to start sowing some seeds, put your orders in as soon as possible and then refer to my Organic Gardening Checklist for a guideline as to the optimal times to start those seeds. This checklist is for a climate like mine (the temperate climate west of the Cascades), but can serve as a template for other areas by just changing the dates according to your area. A good place to find that information for where you live is by finding an extension service usually run by a university (here it’s Oregon State University). Or just Google “best planting dates for (your area).”

OK, lets get ready to start some seeds. It’ll be fun, I promise!






  1. says

    We have already started our seeds and now are in the midst of separating and transplanting the seedlings. We have a much earlier planting season than some areas do so we have to start our seeds in mid December to early January. Our compost bin us working away and the garden bed has been tilled. So it’s just a waiting game now for the last Feb freeze before we plant. I can hardly wait.

    I loved the post. It’s great to see so many get on fire for gardening.

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