Planting Seedlings Indoors – Advantages To Know

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Planting seedlings indoors has many advantages like giving your plants such as cherry tomato, pepper, or brassicas a head start before transplanting them outside. Let’s take a look at each of these advantages to ensure your vegetable garden will grow hearty plants and produce a maximum yield of fruit.

Dozens of seedling pots with plant starts growing.

Why I Love Planting Seedlings Indoors

Right off the top, I’m going to admit that gardening has its hard moments. There will be times when you feel like giving up and times of huge reward.

However, when you put in the extra work of starting seeds and get to try and taste produce you could never get at the grocery store, it helps give you that extra push to keep going!

If you have a garden, chances are you may have been buying your tomato and pepper plants at a local box store or nursery. But what if I told you that you could easily start your own plants inside your house, no greenhouse required?

I have found outdoor gardening to be a place I escape to and I yearn for it during the winter months. Gardening is a therapeutic retreat for my whole being. So why not expand that outdoor experience to the indoors?

Not only will you get to experience the thrill of coaxing seeds to life, but you will also have an outlet for those hands and mind that longs for the feel of soil.

Advantages of Planting Seedlings Indoors

There are a number of reasons why seeds started indoors can be beneficial. Here are a few that have really resonated with me.

Expanding the Growing Season

No matter where you live, planting seedlings indoors can give you more control over the season.

By starting seeds inside when it’s still too cold for the plants outside, you are getting a jump start on your growing season. In colder zones (where there is the risk of frost until June) it’s difficult to plant early enough to allow for a harvest before late into the summer.

If seeds are started inside, it allows for that initial germination and growth to happen before it’s safe to plant outside.

For example, tomatoes and peppers take about 80-90 days from seed to fruition. If the seeds are started inside 6-8 weeks before the last frost and then planted outdoors, the tomatoes might be producing fruit in as little as 4 weeks from planting.

In addition to that, indeterminate tomato plants grow and continue to produce indefinitely, so you gain 6 to 8 weeks of harvest.

Another issue that warmer, southern climates can run into is a short spring period.

For plants like cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli it’s best to start indoors. If the seeds are sown directly into the outdoor garden soil, the weather may be too hot when they are ready to produce. The plants will wilt and sprout and just not do well in the heat.

A woman's hands holding a basket of cherry tomatoes.

Access to More Varieties

Most of the chain stores, local co-ops, and large nurseries get their plants shipped in from a nationwide wholesaler.

There’s nothing wrong with this, but it does limit the varieties available. Usually, you will find 5-6 commonly known varieties and that's it.

However, if you look at a seed catalog, you will find choices that make your head swim, and you may have to limit yourself from becoming a seed hoarder!

My favorite thing about planting seedlings indoors is that it opens a whole new world of heirlooms and seeds. You get to try things that you might not otherwise get to see, try, or even taste.

In this post on where to buy heirloom seeds, you will find my reviews on over 10 heirloom seed companies based on my experience with the company, packaging, germination rate, and ease of website use. It's a great place to get started if you've never ordered seeds before.

Tiny seed starting pots with seedlings growing.

Planting Seedlings Indoors Can Be Cheaper

“Can be” are very important words to take note of here! It’s easy to get caught up in buying way more seeds than you really need along with equipment that is unnecessary and adds up to a lot of money.

In this post where I share my seed shopping method, I help you avoid some of these pitfalls by guiding you through how I shop for seeds.

You can also search your local area for seed swaps and seed banks where you will likely find seeds for a cheaper price (sometimes even free!).

Let’s do a little math… most of the seed packets you buy will have a large number of seeds in them. Depending on where you buy them, these packets can cost less than a dollar.

Of course, not all seeds are this cheap. If all of the seeds germinate and grow, it will cost significantly less than $3.00 a plant at the store. It totally depends on your circumstances and how frugal you are in your setup.

For frugal ideas on purchasing seed starting materials on a budget, check out this post on starting seeds indoors.

A woman carrying a large basket filled with fresh picked tomatoes. Her family is in the background.

A Step Closer to Self-Sufficiency

For me, being involved in the complete cycle of gardening from seed to harvest is not only therapeutic but satisfying.

The more involved I am in the process, the better I feel about the foods I am feeding my family. There is always room to grow, but every little step I learn and implement into our lives is a step towards being less dependent and more self-sufficient. 

Basil growing in raised beds in a garden.

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