Will I Ever Try Starting From Seeds Again?

Tuesday, we had our first day of 70 degree weather and it was gorgeous! I put my ten plants – five kale and five romaine – outdoors to begin the hardening process. A little sun, a light breeze, and when I brought them indoors, all was good. I checked the pots and found the soil still damp.

Wednesday morning, my husband greeted me with a long face – the face he uses when he has some bad news to tell me – and he said, “You better go out and look at your plants.” And this is what I saw:


The finger test proved that the soil was bone dry, so I watered them. In about three hours they mostly perked up. Maybe I’ve lost one – I’m still not sure.


They are outside again today and tonight when I bring them in, I’ll give them a drink of chamomile tea. But it got me thinking. These ten baby plants that I could probably pick up at the nursery for about $20 or $30 have taken an enormous effort on my part. Could I have bought this much romaine and kale at the farmer’s market for $30? I’m sure of it.

And this realization got me thinking about starting plants from seeds. I already know that my gardening mentor, Lenora from Longlips Farm, considers this a time-consuming and fussy process that she just doesn’t have time for! The other two gardeners in my life – my mom and my grandma – didn’t start plants from seeds.

So will I try starting from seeds again? Today, the answer is no. But I’m prepared to be convinced otherwise!


15 thoughts on “Will I Ever Try Starting From Seeds Again?

  1. I’m glad you are sharing this information. You probably saved me a lot of trouble because I was considering trying to start some plants. I don’t really have space or proper lighting. I hope some of your plants make it to the garden.

  2. I once started some cone flowers from seed and I felt so wonderful every time I looked at those flowers. I bet some of those plants will make it to the garden 🙂

    • If only I could get cone flowers to grow. They die even when I start with robust plants. We’ll see if I actually get to eat some of that romaine and kale – without going out and chewing the leaves off today!! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I don’t have the patience to start the stuff from seed. Seems like so much cheaper $$ and time-wise to buy the plants…and some things I’ve had bad luck with I buy the product at Farmer’s Market!!

    • At this point, I’m with you. Assuming that my mother started from seeds – and odd that I simply can’t remember who ever planting anything (although we had plenty of weeding) – she must have started outdoors!

  4. It is a ton of work. But I hope this doesn’t change your mind forever! The reason is that you can start tons of things that you cannot buy, unlike the kale and romaine. I start my lettuce, radishes, spinach, kale, onions, arugulas, cukes, squash, from seed, but direct seed them outside. Much easier. I am growing from seed inside some special tomatoes (dark blue), and a purple cauliflower, and trying a few perennials like a frilly Shasta, and a special Penstemon that I can’t buy at the local nursery. They are doing very well under my grow lights right now. But when you introduce the seedlings outside, they are going from a controlled environment to the wild outdoors and things can happen fast as you found out. A cold frame is useful for this. But I feel your pain, as everything you have done, I have experienced and it is very discouraging. Take a break a for a couple of years, and I bet you will be back to starting something when you forget how hard it was! Kind of like childbirth.

  5. This is the fifth year that I’ve “failed” at seed-starting. Every year I’ve said, “no more!”, but I keep trying. When I say fail, I mean I’ve gotten perhaps 15% of the seeds to really start and make it to the garden, mostly the flowers. For me, it’s a challenge and something to grow in the long spell between Christmas and getting outside, but I’m an empty nester with plenty of time… I don’t even try vegetables anymore because I’d rather buy the sturdy, dependable nursery plants..! I agree with gardendiaries about the direct sowing, and cold frames are amazing! Good luck!

    • Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your “failure.” 15 percent – I wish I had 15 percent of my broccoli going. My grandson needs to do some seed starting for a boy scout badge and he is coming to stay for spring break. We’ll see what the scouts know about starting seeds from scratch! I’m giving him my remaining broccoli seeds to try!

  6. Here in MN, I learned there are certain seeds that will take and thrive if planted directly into warm soil. We have a short season so I mostly bought starter plants for anything that wants 90 days or more. (Except for pumpkins … those bear the cold of fall better, but we’d still get the shorter season varieties.)

    From seed, we always did radish, leaf lettuce, peas, beans, cucumbers, dill … will you be planting directly into ground?

    • Renae – thanks for stopping by! Yes, most of my seeds will go directly in the ground, although I’ll buy some plants as insurance. Normally, we have a longer growing season with warm weather all the way through September and into October. We’ll see what happens this year. It’s only 40 degrees today and should be at least 60!

  7. There are not many plants I start indoors — they do better started directly outside and/or just aren’t worth the trouble. Greens like kale and spinach I would definitely neither start in pots nor buy transplants nor buy from a farmer. Seeds are very cheap, transplants are expensive for the amount of produce you get, and they do exceptionally well direct seeded in fall or early spring.

  8. Pingback: Frugal Gardener-Growing on a Budget | The Garden Diaries

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