Grow It From Seed!!

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Published: May 18, 2010 | By admin

Posted in: Tips

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In recent years, many plants have been subject to disease. Some say the diseases are spread in soil and/or seedlings from large outlets like Walmart and Home Depot.  In reality, it is a mystery.  Large farms will tell you to destroy your tomatoes or infected plants and not plant the same area for up to five years.  If this advice were followed, no one could have a home garden, and to that we say…hooey.  The reasons you have a home garden are the same reasons that work in your favor to fight these diseases when farms fail.  You do not have hundreds or thousands of plants to attend, so take good care of those  you have and do not listen to the large farmer trying to blame you for their plight.

Blight and septoria leaf spot struck our tomatoes two years running in completely different areas of the garden. All our plants had been purchased as seedlings from local growers.  However, we noticed this year many so called local growers are purchasing their plants from larger growers, which makes purchasing them from the local grower no better than purchasing them from Walmart.  One large local grower we visited had larger plants already displaying signs of disease.

Early blight and other diseases like septoria leaf spot are  the result of fungus or bacteria that typically result in low yields and eventual death of the plant.  Much advice is available to deal with the problems, but the advice varies so greatly that we have to believe no one really knows what to do about it.  Some say mulching is essential to avoid early blight.   But we have never found our mulching by itself makes plants any less vulnerable.  And some local tomato growers were struck by blight last year and are professional farmers that mulch and follow all the rules.  The fact is, it isn’t easy to avoid disease, but  you can take some precautions and hopefully limit it.  We will address disease in a separate article, but one way to fight it is to grow your own plants from seed.

But if at the end, you purchased contaminated soil along with your plant because you didn’t grow it from seed, you may not only introduce yourself to the accompanying diseases, you may introduce your neighbors plants as well.  Our advice is to grow from seed and only resort to plants from a local grower if you know they were grown by that local grower.

Here are our 10 reasons to grow from seed…

These are my top 10.

  1. Disease.

    Disease is much less likely to come from a seed than a plant. The soil you use will likely be packaged soil and vermiculite which will have been sterilized. It is much more difficult for disease to spread in seedlings you grow yourself. If it does, you can catch it early and pitch the seedlings without wasting your time.

  2. Saves $$.

    Yes, it is work, but it is also incredibly cheap. A packet of 30 tomato seeds, all of which will likely germinate, will cost you about $2. or less. The soil about a nickel a plant. The water, negligible. Egg Cartons (nice, more freebies) free. What was Home Depot charging for moderately grown 6″ seedlings this past year? $3.99!!! To generate the same 30 plants would cost $120!! Plus Tax in most states!!! Peppers are also started early and the same statements as above apply, except Pepper seedlings tend to be cheap. Perhaps 6 for 1.99. So, maybe if you don’t want the variety, go with seedlings from your local store but remember, you will be bringing in their soil.

  3. Variety.

    You can choose what you want to grow (see our blight article). If you buy from a local or national grower and pay top dollar for each plant instead of growing from seed, you are likely to get whatever they have to offer, which will be limited. Want a blight resistant tomato? Good luck. Want a particular type of cherry tomato? Right.  Choice is much much broader when choosing seed over grown plants.

  4. Control.

    It is much easier to regulate how many plants you get in the long run and you can pick from the best. That is difficult to do while shopping for your seedlings and I don’t know about you, but I tend to buy too much or too little when I have to decide at the store. Then, I feel forced to plant more plants than I should or I wish I had gotten more. If I have 30 seedlings, I have it covered.

  5. Most vegetables can be sewn directly into your garden!!

    You don’t need seedlings for most garden plants. This past spring I bought 3 healthy looking cucumber seedlings for 2.99 from a local grower. I brought them home and carefully planted them with all the proper procedures. Two were eaten and the third just outright died. Undeterred I went back to the store and bought a packet of 30 seeds for 99c. I got 15 plants from those seeds  after weeding out the extras, and I ended up growing more cukes than I could imagine all healthier than the dickens. The plants adapt to the soil in which they are planted. For seeded plants, there is no shock of a transplant. Read the directions, you will find an amazing number of vegetables, including beans, peas, cucumbers, carrots, and on and on you can grow from seed directly in your garden.

    Garden Harvest

    Home Garden Harvest

  6. You can buy your seeds online!!

    We have found numerous great sources for seeds.  Mail order is good if you choose good names like Ed Hume or Ferry Morse.  Beware of EBAY.  You have no idea what you will get and it is most likely seeds extracted by the seller themselves.  If it isn’t in a dated and sealed packet or from a legitimate known supplier, don’t buy it or plant it.  Avoid shipping costs or reduce them.   We have found some online sellers charge up to three times the cost of the seeds to ship them to you.  You can also just buy them from Walmart (which sells Burpee), Lowes, Home Depot or your local garden shop.   We will cover the purchase of seeds in a separate article.

  7. Satisfaction.

    Somehow, taking the seed to a full grown plant is much more satisfying than letting someone else do the work for you.

  8. You can prepare your own seeds!

    If you like, you can extract and  prepare seeds from existing vegetables. However, beware that many varieties are hybrids and likely won’t grow the exact same product. But you can do this if you are frugal with non-hybrid plants. My father did it for years. Those of you that like to do this can contribute and we will add your tips for preparing your own seeds! But we shy away from it.  Note some plants, like tomatoes or peas, are incredibly easy to extract, but others like swiss chard may be considerably more difficult.

  9. Organics.

    We don’t totally believe in organic gardening. We do, however, wish to limit the amount of exposure our plants get to pesticides and fungicides whether they are claimed to be organic or not. We had no choice but to use a fungicide this past year on tomatoes, but we were able to choose the most organic fungicide available. And our cukes grew without anything but a bit of fertilizer and water. We have tricks for many plants we will reveal to you to protect your plants as safely as possible. Remember, just like the produce you buy in the supermarket. you have no idea where those seedlings came from (even if you buy them from a local grower), and you are unlikely to know what they used to mass grow their seedlings.

  10. Fun!

    Honestly, it is a hobby. It is exciting for me to plant the seeds and watch them each day evolve into healthy plants.

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