But there are many other benefits to starting your own plants. Most importantly you are in charge of selecting the varieties you grow which allows you to choose plants that are best suited for your climate, garden conditions, and culinary preferences. Choosing open-pollinated varieties gives you the option of saving your own seed so that you are no longer dependent on someone else from somewhere else to sell you seed. With a little love and care, your plant starts will be much better quality than anything you can buy from a commercial nursery.
When to start your plants depends on your garden's last frost date. Cold-hardy plants and plants that require a long time to reach maturity are started earlier. For our sunny Hancock garden site, this process starts in late February/early March. Here's a look at the starting line-up...
|Leek and onion starts hardening-off in an unheated garden shed before transplanting to the garden. These plants were started on 3/2/12, and set to harden-off on 4/7/12, they are not potted-up.|
|These young broccoli and cabbage starts were potted-up this very morning on 4/11/12. They were started on 3/20/12. They will remain indoors for a couple more weeks before hardening-off and will be transplanted to the garden in early May.|
|Broccoli micro-greens, a tasty byproduct of starting your own plants. When you pot-up plants you select the biggest, strongest seedlings—the rest can be eaten!|
|Celery babies just about ready to pot-up to individual containers. These plants were started on 3/2/12. They will be transplanted to the garden mid to late May.|
|These young basil plants don't even have true leaves yet. They were planted on 3/29/2012. They have a ways to go before potting-up. They won't be planted in the garden until all danger of frost has past.|