Gardening from seed has big advantages.
Even though I have gardened from seed since childhood, the experience of taking what looks like a tiny stone, sowing it, and watching it grow still seems magical; it is faith realized, and it nurtures me as I nurture it. While sometimes that inspiration is all I need to garden from seed, there are some other very important reasons, too.
1. Know what you grow.
Did you know that many of the conventionally-grown vegetables at the grocery store test positive for pesticide residue even after washing and peeling? Some of the worst offenders are spinach, tomatoes, celery, and peppers. The choice of organic foods and goods is a lifestyle path that many have adopted. Growing your own allows you to choose what goes into your family's food, where it came from, how fresh and nutritious it is; you simply can't get more local! When goodness and love go in, goodness and love come out in the harvest.
2. Save money.
Growing from seed is much less expensive than buying plants or produce, especially organic choices. For example, most food gardeners I know grow green beans because the quality is so much better than the grocery store and they are a pretty easy crop (they also add nitrogen to the soil!). A seed packet of bush beans sows about 12 feet of bean plants which will yield about 5 lb. of beans. The cost of the packet is $2.39. A six pack of plants will run you $3-4 and plants 2′ (pssst green beans don't transplant well so expect lower yields). Five pounds of (less than fresh) green beans at the grocery store will cost around $11. Did we mention the seeds in our example are certified organic?
3. More choices.
Grocery stores and garden centers offer only a fraction of available selections. Gardening from seed gives you the option to grow something unique, exotic, or rare. We frequently hear from gardeners that they never knew they liked < a href="/category/Tomato">tomatoes until they grew a variety bred for flavor, and not shelf life. Which is why we are always scouting and trying new varieties to add to the over 600 proven varieties we already carry; so you can sow and grow exactly what you are looking for.
4. Reduce plant stress.
Nature direct-sows, and in many cases sowing seeds in place versus transplanting from greenhouse-started plants leads to quick, stress-free growth, meaning faster, and often more flowers and more fruit, particularly in the case of plants sensitive to root disturbance. This is especially true of quick-to-mature crops like mesclun and cilantro, or root crops, sunflowers, and those in the Cucurbit (cucumbers, squash), bean and pea families to name a few.
5. Perfect timing.
There are advantages to starting some crops early indoors, usually vegetables that tolerate transplanting and take a long time to mature, like peppers, onions, or tomatoes. Starting these indoors gives me a head start in my shorter growing season, as I would never see a pepper produce fruit if I sowed it directly outdoors.
I can't tell you how many times I have wandered out to the garden saying, "Let's see what's for dinner." I slowdown from my busy day when I stroll out to the garden with a glass of wine and my favorite wooden bowl to see what peaks my culinary interest that evening; a personal reward for all my elbow grease in the garden!