To seed or not seed, that is the question?
It’s that time of year, you are getting ready to fill your garden with annual flowers or with seasonal vegetables and herbs. But what do you do, do you sow seeds or plant seedlings? When you look at the costings, yes, seeds look the far more economical way. However, what about the time, water and nurturing requirements of seeds?
The average time to raise seeds to the stage they are comparable to store bought seedlings is roughly six weeks. Some varieties take less time, and some more. You then need to factor in the greatest success rate with sowing seeds, as not every seed will germinate. When a seed starts to sprout it is delicate, and if it encounters a high amount fertiliser, be it organic or synthetic, it can burn the tender shoot and it suffers and may die. Searles Seed Raising Mixture is a professionally formulated mixture used by experienced nurserymen. This mix contains a high percentage of Peat Moss, making it a light, fine textured blend with good water retention, while also providing excellent aeration for essential root growth.
Planting seedlings can save you over a month (or maybe more) in the time it will take to flower or fruit. The trade-off is that you don’t get to experience the joy and the sense of achievement of starting from scratch, and then seeing your seedling develop.
Collecting the seeds from your own garden from easy-to-grow plants such as viola, pansies, nasturtiums, marigolds, and tomatoes can be a wonderful introduction to raising seedlings. When you collect the seeds make sure they are dry and clean. Paper based bags or envelopes are the perfect storage and you can write the name of the plant and the date of collection. Searles Seed Raising Mixture is ideal for raising your home-picked (or store bought!) seedlings. You could even use the pages of your About The Garden Magazine to fold your own paper envelopes to store your seeds in! You may like to use the Searles Seed Raising Mixture in either seedling boxes or trays, or maybe straight on top of the garden bed to save transplanting.
Of course, if you’re time poor or planting out later than expected, seedlings are the way to go! You can always then try to collect seeds from these, or supplement the garden with your existing seed collection.
Most seedlings are annuals, so you can grow at every season… and maybe try to collect their seeds to grow the next year.
So what will it be, to seed or not to seed, that is the question?