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Starting Seeds Vs. Buying Seedings: Which is Right for You?

As spring approaches, you’re likely excited to get your hands dirty and cultivate your own green oasis within our urban confines. One of the first decisions of the season you face is whether to start your garden from seeds or purchase seedlings. 

Each method has its own set of pros and cons, and understanding them can help you make the best choice for your gardening journey.

Starting from Seeds
  • Variety: Starting from seeds opens up a world of possibilities. You have access to a wide array of plant varieties, including heirlooms and unique cultivars, that may not be available as seedlings at your local nursery.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Seeds are generally more affordable than seedlings, especially when bought in bulk. This allows you to experiment with different plants without breaking the bank.
  • Control: By starting from seeds, you have complete control over the entire growing process, from germination to harvest. You can choose the soil mix, containers, and environmental conditions tailored to each plant’s specific needs.
  • Learning Experience: Growing plants from seeds provides valuable hands-on experience and allows you to develop a deeper understanding of the growth cycle and needs of various plants.
  • Time and Patience: Starting from seeds requires patience and careful attention to detail. It can take several weeks for seeds to germinate and grow into sturdy seedlings before they’re ready to be transplanted into the garden.
  • Climate Considerations: Denver’s unique climate, characterized by its high altitude and fluctuating temperatures, can pose challenges for seed starting. You’ll need to provide consistent warmth and light to ensure successful germination and growth.
  • Risk of Failure: Despite your best efforts, not all seeds will germinate, and some seedlings may fail to thrive. Factors such as improper watering, temperature fluctuations, and pests can all impact seedling success rates.
Buying Seedlings
  • Time-Saving: Purchasing seedlings allows you to jump-start your garden without the wait associated with seed starting. You can transplant established seedlings directly into your garden, saving you weeks of waiting for seeds to germinate and grow.
  • Convenience: Seedlings are readily available at local nurseries and garden centers, making them convenient for beginner gardeners who may not have the time or resources to start from seeds.
  • Reduced Risk: Since seedlings have already passed the delicate germination stage, they generally have a higher success rate than seeds. This can be reassuring for beginner gardeners who may be uncertain about their seed starting skills.
  • Better Adaptation: Local nurseries often carry seedlings that are well-suited to Denver’s climate, reducing the risk of transplant shock and increasing the likelihood of successful growth in your garden.
  • Limited Selection: While nurseries offer a variety of seedlings, their selection may be limited compared to what you can find in seed catalogs or online seed stores. You may miss out on unique or specialty varieties by opting for seedlings.
  • Cost: While seedlings offer convenience, they can be more expensive than starting from seeds, especially if you have a large garden to plant.
  • Quality Control: Not all nursery-grown seedlings are created equal. It’s essential to inspect seedlings carefully for signs of disease, pests, or stress before purchasing to ensure you’re getting healthy plants for your garden.

In conclusion, whether you choose to start your garden from seeds or purchase seedlings depends on your preferences, resources, and gardening goals. Both methods have their advantages and drawbacks, and it’s essential to weigh them carefully before making your decision. Regardless of which path you choose, remember that gardening is a journey of learning and discovery, and don’t be afraid to experiment and adapt as you go.

Happy gardening!