Last week, I wandered down to the Halse village plant sale in the hope of finding some strawberry plants to bulk up my fruit bed. Luckily for me, the gardening club had grown a few, so I happily snapped them up, together with some leeks, beetroots, and peppers (plus a couple of bonus slices of cake) for less than a tenner.
As I walked home, basking in the satisfaction of grabbing a bargain, I began to think about buying seedlings rather than sowing them myself. The seedlings were ready to go in the ground, a job I could do in just a few minutes. It would all be very quick and easy which frankly, suits me down to the ground right now!
Later on, I started to write a blog post about the pros on cons of buying versus sowing yourself, but this soon turned into a big, long post. So I’ve split it into three, and here’s the first part: 6 advantages of buying seedlings.
For those of us pushed for time or trying to balance other commitments, buying seedlings is an excellent short cut to growing success.
Although sowing seeds is most enjoyable and definitely very relaxing, it does require a fair amount of effort and time. Sowing needs to be planned, and depending on how much you’re growing, many hours can be spent popping seed into the soil each year.
Then there’s the watering, nurturing, and protecting – raising plants from seeds can easily become a round the clock activity. Buying seedlings skip all this and bar some potential hardening off, you can go straight to the planting stage.
Good for catching up
There’s definitely a place for buying plants if you’ve forgotten to sow something or been busy and found yourself behind on your sowing plan. They’re also a very handy replacement option should some of your own sowings get taken out by pests – given the chance, slugs and snails will relish the chance to decimate whole rows of seedlings, so if this does happen it’s reassuring to know there’s a backup.
Uses Less Space
If space is at a premium on your allotment or in your garden, then it might be worth considering skipping the sowing stage and buying your plants. That way, the whole area can be turned over to growing without requiring space to sow anything in pots, seedbeds, or modules. When the time is right, just buy the plants and put them into the ground, thus maximising time and space.
Not As Much Stuff
Buying plants means that you won’t need much compost, pots, seed labels, or seeds, which will save you some cash towards the plants as well as providing extra space. Keeping the plot clutter-free and tidy will also cut down on places for slugs and snails to hide out, reducing the pest risk. For those extra relaxed gardeners amongst us, there will be less cleaning up and storing to do come to the end of the Summer too.
For beginners, buying plants offers an easy, fuss-free way of growing your own food. If you’re at all daunted by the process of raising plants from seeds or just want to take things gradually, then purchasing a few choice varieties to go straight into the ground might be the best way of testing the water.
Ready to Go Reliability
One of the biggest advantages of buying plants is that they’re simply ready to go. Some seeds can be tricky to germinate and other factors can cause further complications, such as weather and pests. If you leave the cultivation of the seedlings to someone else, then the risks of germination difficulties and losing early seedlings are all but gone.