Growing Vegetables from Seed

Growing vegetables from seed can save you the cost of buying expensive ready-to-plant vegetable plants.

| February 2012 Web

  • Whether you're moving into your first apartment or condo, upgrading to a house, or downsizing to smaller digs, “Thrifty Gardening: From the Ground Up,” by Marjorie Harris, shares the best tips on how to create a beautiful garden for any space—all on a budget.
    Photo Courtesy House of Anansi Press
  • Whether you're a beginning gardener or a veteran getting ready for another spring, try growing vegetables from seed and save cash.
    Photo By R_R/Fotolia

Starting vegetables from seed is a simple way for both novice and experienced gardeners to save money and delve into the exciting (and delicious!) world of heritage plants. In this excerpt from Thrifty Gardening: From the Ground Up (House of Anansi Press, 2012), author Marjorie Harris gives some easy-to-follow advice on growing vegetables from seed. This excerpt is taken from Chapter 6, The Thrifty Propagator.

Growing Vegetables from Seed

Some people find growing vegetables from seed intimidating. I certainly did when I had my very first garden, but I’d seen my parents do it so I did what they did: I fluffed up the soil really well, created rows to sow the seeds in, stuck twigs in the ground at the end of each row and tied strings between twigs (to attach the seed package to), and had boards to stand on between rows so I wouldn’t compact the soil. That much I’d absorbed by osmosis. I knew enough to water regularly, to thin when necessary, and to pull out weeds. We grew our own vegetables long before it was a trend in the city.

Buying plants is expensive. One tomato plant ready to pop into the ground can cost $4, but you can buy twenty tomato seeds for that amount of money. To be absolutely thrifty, form a co-operative. Choose the seeds that will grow well in your neighbourhood, divvy up the cost of seed with friends, and go into production. Even more interesting is the return of heritage seed-saving. A heritage plant is one that has a long history that can be traced back to its origins. It has not been altered by our modern technology. And if there are variants, they are odd or different because nature intended them to be that way. Until a very few years ago, saving heritage seeds was back there with the dinosaurs. Who needs them when we can get these fancy new hybrids with their guaranteed times for harvest and predictable uniformity? But now people have discovered the flavour and uniqueness of heritage vegetables, and are keen to preserve them for the future.

Sonia Day, author of Incredible Edibles, says the best vegetables and herbs to grow from seed are:

• beets
• carrots
• dill
• green beans
• peas
• lettuce
• soybeans
• summer savory
• summer squash
• tomato
• basil

Here are Sonia’s easy, step-by-step instructions on propagating vegetables by seed:

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