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Starting Plants From Seed VS Buying Plants

gardening in northern climates seed starting seed starting vs buying plants short season gardening starting plants from seed vs buying plants starting seeds indoors

It's almost that time of year when vegetable, flower and herb seeds are started ahead of the growing season indoors to get a head start on them growing before it's warm enough to plant the garden. You may have considered starting seeds indoors or have been doing it already or maybe you purchase your starts at your local nursery. What is the difference between starting seeds indoors and is it better than buying plants or vice versa? 
1. Variety
The first main difference between starting seeds indoors and buying them at a nursery is when you start them yourself you choose the varieties you want to grow whereas if you go to a nursery you can only pick out the plants that are there that the nursery that the nursery has chosen to carry. This is great too but if you want to try something new or something sells out not much you can do about it. 
2. Difficulty 
When it comes down to starting seeds indoors (vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers) that benefit you more from being started indoors - some are easy to germinate and care for, however vegetables such as peppers and eggplant, herbs and some flowers can be very tricky to germinate and require more heat and light whereas some don't need much heat and only light etc. You also have to start them at the right time not too early or too late. Not that you have to be exact - but too early means you will have to pot up before planting out - too late and you're left with a small plant that will take longer to grow when planted out. The greenhouse you can simply pick out your plants and focus on planting them and growing them - they are healthy, lush and fertilized - ready to be planted out!
3. Care/Attention
When it comes to starting plants indoors it requires time, care and attention. Remember plants are at their most vulnerable stage. Everyday it's making sure these plants have water, have enough light, heat or fertilize them (after they start developing). Often you need to check watering multiple times daily. If you can't commit to caring for seedlings every day then probably buying plants is your best bet since they do they work for you.
4. Cost 
Seeds are verily inexpensive to purchase and you can set yourself up pretty simple for a good cost with soil etc. Buying plants can lean more on the costly side for sure. Especially single large plants annuals and perennials included. If you start from seed you may have to work at nurturing the plants but you get more bang for your buck with plants per a pack of seeds then buying one plant at the nursery. 
Conclusion: Both starting seeds indoors and buying them from the nursery are both wonderful options - though I lean towards starting them indoors for sure - I love a good trip to the nursery every Spring to pick up a few plants. Both rewarding both an important beginning to your gardening season!

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