Why sow seeds when I can plant seedlings?
You totally should plant seedlings! If you only want/need a few plants or have limited space then you don’t need 100 tomato seeds, you need a few tomato plants. If you’re looking at a pack of seeds and it says to “transplant” this plant, then you can totally just buy the seedlings if you’d rather.
But some plants – like peas, corn, and root veges – grow better when you plant the seed directly into the garden
(or container). If you’re reading a seed packet and it says “direct sow”, seeds are always the best way to go.
Advantages of seeds
The biggest advantage with growing from seed is the range of what you can grow. There were 57 different varieties of tomato listed in the Kings Seeds
catalogue this year. There is an astonishing range of weird and wonderful things available through TradeMe and Facebook groups too.
Seeds are cheaper as well. A pack of seed is usually a similar price to a single seedling, but is capable of growing hundreds more plants. A pack of seeds will generally keep its viability for a few years, meaning they become economical over time if you know how to store and grow them.
If you eat a lot of a particular plant (broccoli and lettuce are popular in our house), seeds work out considerably cheaper over a few seasons.
You can make your money back by raising seeds to seedling stages and selling them to your mates for their gardens. I’ve found Facebook to be a really great place to sell my extra seedlings.
Or you could raise tomatoes while your mate raises lettuces, then swap half the seedlings. It’s a good skill to have if you have the time and space to learn.