Buy Seeds - Not
Sometimes growing from seed is not just an option—it’s a
The spectacle of a cilantro plant in a 4-inch pot with the same price
tag as a similar sized pot of rosemary or sage is comical … and not a
little objectionable. Taprooted plants like cilantro respond to the
stress of transplanting by immediately bolting. They can and should be
sown directly into the garden soil. This herb is a member of a sizeable
but (botanically speaking) mostly unrelated class of edible and
ornamental plants that are most successful when planted from seed. This
better-from-seed clan is a good one to get to know, especially in these
times of shrinking budgets.
Choose seeds over
started plants- it's easy
The garden plant industry caters to the mass-market; seed catalogs,
online seed companies and garden center seed racks offer a greater range
of choices to the adventurous gardener. If you want your garden to stand
out from the crowd, bypass the plant shelf and indulge in the abundant
offerings of the seed rack. The list of vegetables and flowers that are
actually easier to grow from seed is a long one. If a flower or herb
readily self-sows, it is on the list. If a vegetable has an edible root,
tasty leaves, or produces pods, it is likely on the list as well.
Start with our 10 easiest plants to
grow from seed and you’ll
quickly learn that a little pack of seeds yields a season of big
satisfaction. Dare to experiment. Whether your aim is food, fashion, or
fun, a seed-grown garden offers an unbeatable return on investment.
For a colorful landscape at a minimal expense, purchase a pack or
two of each of the following, and sow them as soon as the weather is
warm and settled in spring:
Bachelor’s Buttons: full sun; 1-3 ft tall; pink, blue, white, and
Cleome: full sun; 3-5 ft tall; pink, white, purple.
Cosmos: full sun; 1-6 ft tall; pink,
white, dark rose, red, yellow, orange.
Four O’Clock: full sun to part shade; 2-4 ft tall; pink, magenta,
white, yellow, lime green, variegated and broken colors.
Larkspur: full sun; 2-5 ft tall; pink, white, purple, blue.
Marigolds: full sun; 8 in. - 3 ft. tall; yellow, orange, cream.
Sunflower: full sun; less than 2 ft
to more than 10 ft; yellow, gold, cream, orange, red. burgundy, bicolor.
And a few more: Amaranth, Calendula, Morning Glory,
Direct-sown herbs yield many bunches of seasoning leaves and the
winter hardy herbs will come back the next year:
Arugula: Sow seeds
in a wide row from spring through early summer, and again in fall. Each
row can be cut multiple times for a spicy/nutty salad addition
is one of the few herbs that appreciates a little shade in summer. Sow
fresh seed in moist but well drained soil in early spring or late
summer—the lacy leaves grow in abundance when the nights are cool.
Chervil gives a delicate anise flavor to poultry, new potatoes, baby
beans, or just about anything.
Dill is as striking as it is useful. Sow dill seed in full sun,
keeping in mind that it tops out at about 3 feet. Plant anytime during
the growing season; dill thrives in spring and early summer, and
summer–sown seeds will often yield exuberant fall fronds.
Summer Savory is easy to grow yet rarely cultivated. Sow summer
savory in full sun in late spring, keeping the soil evenly moist until
the delicate seedlings can hold their own. By summer’s end, the patch
will provide you with moreof the narrow thyme-like leaves than you can
use. They are a flavorful addition to soups and stews, dips and
marinades, vegetables, fish, and many other dishes.
And a few more: Basil, Borage, Chives, Cilantro, Garlic Chives,
Oregano, Parsley, Thyme.
Roots from Seed
Root crops are tasty,
nutritious, and come in a wide variety of textures and flavors. Start
with these for satisfying results:
Sow successive crops from spring through late summer. They will mature
quickly to a harvestable size if seedlings are thinned to about an inch
apart. Leaves are tasty too.
Carrot: The best thing about growing your own carrots is the
satisfaction you can get from serving not just orange, but red, yellow,
and purple roots. Sow successive crops and thin to about an inch apart.
At the end of the season, pile straw on your carrot bed and harvest
until the ground freezes.
Radish: Like carrots, radishes come in
an array of colors. Plant the seeds about an inch apart as soon as the
soil can be worked in spring, and you’ll have fresh radishes in your
salads in a month.
If you’ve never grown turnips before, start with one of the Japanese
salad types, a quick maturing crop that’s best harvested small—from
radish to ping-pong-ball size. The tops are every bit as tasty as the
sweet roots. Sow seeds in both spring and fall.
And a few more: Daikon, Kohlrabi, Parsnip
Easy Veggies from seed
Seeds are the better option for most vegetables, if for no other reason
than you get a lot more for your money! Remember to buy extra seeds for
Seeds can be sown thickly for baby greens, or thinned to 8-10 inches
apart for heads. The colors and textures make as beautiful display in
the garden or pot as in a salad bowl.
Mizuna and other mustard greens: Grow mustards as you would
arugula; being family members they have similar needs. Cut small for
salads, or large for healthful braising greens.
In many regions, spinach is more easily grown in fall than spring. With
a blanket of mulch it has been known to winter over, even where winters
are frigid. Sow seeds in rows and thin to 2-4 inches apart, eating the
baby leaves. The dark green leaves are renowned for their rich iron and
vitamin content—the fresher the leaves, the higher their nutritional
AND MANY MORE
Vegetables That are EZ from Seed:
Green Beans and Edamame
Corn and Popcorn
Mustards and Other Leafy Greens.
Pak choi and Other Asian Greens
Melons and Watermelons,
Peas, both sugar and snap peas
Pumpkins and Winter Squash
Zucchini and Other Summer Squash
Garden Seed Association (HGSA) |
P.O. Box 93, Maxwell, CA 95955 |
Phone (530) 438-2126 |