That stupid groundhog saw its shadow, so I guess that means six more weeks of winter. Whatevs. I’m looking out over the two feet of white stuff on my lawn not even able to see any remnants of my garden save for that one dead kale stalk that I was too lazy to pull when it finally lost its will to live after Thanksgiving. But now is the time to think seeds!
People still grow plants from seeds?
Yes, they do.
Why would anyone do that?
- Well, I do it because I’m cheap. There, I said it. I say it all the time on my other blog, but it’s time to get that out in the open here – eighty percent of my wardrobe is from Goodwill – it could be 100 percent, but they don’t sell underwear and socks (that’s disgusting…and it’s a joke…well maybe not the underwear part). Growing from seed is cheaper than buying a starter plant.
- You can say, “Freakin-A, I grew that!” There’s something fulfilling and miraculous and exciting about growing a giant food-bearing plant (or any plant) out of a little tiny seed.
- You can grow unique fruits and vegetables. Typically, you’ll find the standard fruits and vegetables wherever you shop for plants: red tomatoes, red/green bell peppers, orange carrots – booorrrriiiing. But you can get all kinds of unique fruit and vegetable seeds. I grew ground cherries for a few years. They’re little round yellow-green fruits that grow in papery husks – kind of like tomatillos, but smaller and they taste different. I thought they tasted yucky, but they were unique and fun to grow and I had the seeds, so I grew them – my kids ate them. I’ve grown purple beans, a yellow tomatoes, chocolate peppers, white carrots, lettuce, kale, herbs, broccoli, cauliflower, etc., from seeds. You can grow all kinds of stuff.
- Some fruits and vegetables grow better from seed – meaning they’re not good to transplant. Carrots, corn…I’m sure there are others, but I don’t know what they are because those are the only ones I can think of right now. One of the plants I did not bother growing from seed was the strawberry plant. I just dug them up out of someone else’s yard – takes too long to get fruit.
Where do I get seeds?
- Seed Catalogues – You can get some crazy stuff from catalogues. Just make sure you know what USDA Plant Hardiness Zone you’re in. (KNOW your zone). You don’t want to buy avocado seeds if you live in frosty Chicago. I love when my seed catalogues start filling up my mailbox in January. I dog-ear the pages, dreaming of all the fun new things I’m going to grow. Then reality hits and I remember that all those dog-eared pages equal work – so I just get a few packets…or none, because I’m lazy. You can order free seed catalogues on the Internet. Here’s a link to a good list of organic seed catalogues. I receive a number of these catalogues.
- Internet – You don’t even need the catalogue now, just go straight to their website. But there’s still something special about flipping through all those pages. I found a site called WinterSown.org. They’ll send you free seeds (different kinds) if you send them a self-addressed stamped envelope and a couple stamps. I did this three years ago and I’ve grown the tomatoes they sent me every year since. Love them!
- Local Nursery – At first, I was intimidated by my nursery. I felt like a junior higher on the first day of school. I made Steve (my husband) go with me the first time, just like I made my dad go with me on my first day of 7th grade – yes, I did. Now that I have some gardening experience under my belt I strut all up in that nursery and I be like, “Hey Errybody! Katie in the green hooooouuuuse.” I’m tight with the owner – like he says to me, “Oh…you’re the one with that square-foot garden, right?” Tight. At least now I can tell a tomato plant from a pepper plant and they don’t even need to have the fruit/vegetable hanging from them.
- Home Depot or other hardware store – I impulse buy when I go to these places (because they’re cheap!), especially if I haven’t mapped out what I want to plant yet. I usually end up wasting money. I still have corn seeds I’ve never grown that I was just dying to plant because I had spring gardening fever three years ago and I wanted a fresh ear of corn picked straight from my garden. Then I found out that corn is hard to grow because of pests and now I just want to throw the seeds to the squirrels and forget about them.
- From other people. Find a seed buddy. Ask them to trade seeds. If you’re new to gardening (which you probably are if you’re reading this blog…or you’re my mom and dad) just tell someone you know who gardens that you’re ready to start and they’ll give you seeds…unless they’re a jerk.
After writing this I’m totally getting garden fever. Who’s with me? Screw that groundhog!
What’s up next?
- You mean I actually have to plan a garden?
- When do I start growing these stinking seeds you suggested I get?
- Okay, now I know what I’m going to plant and when, but how do I grow these seeds?
Disclaimer: I am not a master gardener. I am a humor gardener. Leave a comment telling me what I said wrong…or if you have any questions. Let’s get a conversation going!