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Gardening can be an expensive hobby. It doesn’t need to be, and starting your plants from seed is a great way to save money. Follow these tips to choose the perfect seeds for your garden.
Learn about types of seeds: F1 and F2 hybrids, heirlooms, which plants are open-pollinated (so you can save the seeds for next year), and what is patent protected.
Disease resistances are noted, so if late blight always takes out your tomato plants, look for resistant varieties.
Drought-tolerant varieties that stand up to summer heat are especially helpful to gardeners in warmer climates.
The number of days to maturity is important, especially for northern gardeners whose growing season may come to an abrupt halt before their plants start producing anything edible.
Make note of the number of seeds in a packet. If you are getting 100 broccoli seeds, maybe you can team up with your neighbors and pool your orders.
You can also save seeds from your garden by selecting seeds from the most suitable plants, harvesting them at the right time, and storing them properly until you need to plant them.
Not ALL seeds should be started indoors.
Crops that are best started indoors include broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, tomatoes, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, and peppers.
Tender vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers are very susceptible to the cold temperatures of spring, so it’s best to start them indoors and keep them safe from unpredictable weather. They will also benefit from being transplanted to a larger container and growing on before you plant them in the garden.
Transplant when it gets to 45-55 degrees at night for the tomatoes, but eggplants are a bit pickier. Don’t set eggplants out until the soil temperatures are 55-60°F (about 2-4 weeks after the last frost date).
Plants like radishes and peas are so fast-growing and cold-tolerant that it just makes sense to get them right in the ground!