Growing a vegetable garden is an extremely rewarding hobby that can keep you active, provide free food for your family, and help improve the quality of your life. While many home improvement stores, garden centers, and even grocery stores will be quick to sell starter plants that have been grown in greenhouses and are ready to plant, starting your veggie garden from seeds is rewarding and cost-efficient.
Starting a garden from seed is also much easier, especially for new gardeners who have a longer grow season to work with. Seeds are also better than seedlings or starter plants because many veggies such as root vegetables like carrots, peas, radishes, and peppers do not transplant easily. Micro greens, melons, beans, corn, and other quick-growing crops such as squash and cucumbers are also much better off when started from direct seeds.
Seed packets are also much more cost-effective than seedlings and starter plants because you aren’t paying for the work that has already gone into growing these plants. While the many varieties of seeds available may seem overwhelming, there are five tips every gardener should know to help them buy great vegetable seeds.
Seed packets have very specific instructions on how to grow the vegetables printed on them. Many people simply add seeds to their cart of the foods they enjoy without considering the necessary steps those veggies will take to grow bountifully. Many vegetables need to be started indoors before being transplanted outside in the garden, others have very specific times when they must be planted to thrive, and others don’t do well in certain climates. Make sure you are knowledgeable about your climate, soil, and sunlight in your garden so that you get the most out of your seeds.
There are many veggies such as lettuce, radishes, beans, and tomatoes that grow quickly (21–30 days). After you harvest your crop, you can plant another and expand your vegetable stock throughout the entire growing season.
When seed shopping, look for strains that have been cultivated to be disease-resistant. Tomato seeds will be labelled VFN, meaning they are resistant to wilting and nematode damage that would normally kill a tomato plant quickly. You can go here to find a list of resistance codes and explanation on what they all mean.
4. Consider Your Space
Depending on how large your garden is, you may not have the space you need to grow some of your favorite veggies. Corn, pumpkin, squash, broccoli, and other larger vegetables need a lot of space to grow and expand their root systems. More compact varieties such as tomatoes, greens, peppers, beans, herbs, oriental vegetables, and shallots are high-yielding and grow well in small gardens.
Looking into buying vegetable seeds in bulk, or even just a few at a time, tends to be much cheaper online. There are many online retailers and seed suppliers that specialize in unusual or hard-to-find varieties, non-GMO, organic, disease-resistant and proven strains of seeds. Seeds purchased online are often shipped directly from the vendor, are less likely to be in poor or undesirable condition, and have been stored appropriately. This will make germination more successful and yield better-quality plants.
Growing a vegetable garden can be hard work, and learning which vegetables will grow best in your environment can take some time, but getting your seeds from a reputable company will help you to make the best and most informed decisions in your planting. Make sure to save your excess seeds in an airtight, dry, and moisture-free place to store them for the next year’s plant season.