Growing from Seed

All the photos here today where brought to you by the letter S and J. S stands for Seeds. J for Joy. Watch out or we'll start counting the seed like the Count: 'one seed, mwah-ha-ha, two seed, mwah-ha-ha'. If you don't get that reference, go ask your parents why they watched a great big yellow bird whose friend was called Aloysius Snuffleupagus (known as Mr to you). We all knew that Bert and Ernie where keen gardeners, you could tell by the way they were always happy in each other's company. Back to seed. Seed may scare you, you may think that buying a plant is the best way to go but you miss the joy of growing. You get no S, you get no J, you just get BS. The BS instant garden. The BS fifteen minute garden. The BS about weeds that never appear. Let's keep it real, let's keep it with seed, your soil and plants that are naturalised to your garden.

new gardener series, life on pig row

There are some plants that you can't grow from seed, trees need a lot of patient, roses need experience in cutting and bedding plants just sap the will to live. Buy them if you must, enjoy them, love them up to the point they keel over from the cold, blackfly, aphids and mould because your garden wasn't ready for them. We've all done it, first sunny day, down to the tea and wee garden centre and we wend our way home with armfuls of pansies, pelargoniums and begonias. We plant them out. We don't even harden them off (this technique is simple: leave your plants out during the day, bring them undercover at night, do this for a week extending by an hour each night before you bring then back indoors until one night you forget about them and they stay out all night and like a hungover partner, parts of them are all over the front path). We are so excited. Growing seed is far more exciting. Seed sowing is so exciting that when you see them for the first time you can't even hold the camera steady.

growing, gardening

We have covered pricking out and potting on, but we bet you wonder what happens next after the seed has grown. In a few weeks you go from the above to the below image, by simply potting on and feeding with nettle tea and comfrey. That's six oriental poppies grown from seed below, they retail at our garden centre for £8.99 ($13), that's £53.94 ($79) worth of plants and this is where we reveal the secret. The seed was free, the compost for each works out at 27p, the pots are 5p (we buy them in bulk). That's 32p (47 cents) per plant. Now, now, we know that doesn't include our time but frankly gardening isn't about time, time stops in a good garden. Gardening isn't a chore, it's a way of thinking.

gardening, life on pig row

Yes, we don't know what colour these plants will be and that's the fun of it all. Now, consider all these plants below, 70 dahlias, 50 chillies. How much are they worth? How much have we saved? How many of these can we barter with?

Gardening, life on pig row

110 tomato plants, we'll keep a third and sell the rest or barter them. Is growing from seed worth it? Damn right it's worth it. This is hard economics, seed is cheaper. Seed is also a way for us to learn the worth of plants. Grow from seed and you'll never buy bedding plants too early, you'll know when it is time to grow, time to sow.

Gardening, how to sow seed, life on pig row


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