Once you grow vegetables from seed in your garden, you’ll never go back to buying only transplants. Whether it’s saving money when you grow vegetables from seed, or because the varieties you can grow are practically endless, growing vegetables from seed opens up amazing possibilities for your garden.
This post goes in-depth on the 5 reasons you should grow vegetables from seed in your next garden!
Reason # 1 – You Get to Eat a Greater Variety of Vegetables
When you grow vegetables from seed, you have hundreds of varieties at your fingertips.
Getting your vegetables from only the grocery store provides almost zero variety. For example, If your grocery store even carries collard greens, there’s only going to be one variety of collard green available. Want your favorite fresh green bean? Sorry, there’s only one kind of fresh green bean in the building. Heck, you might not even know that you HAVE a favorite green bean if you’ve never grown your own delicious green beans.
Buying seedlings from your local big-box retailer or local plant nursery won’t even give you variety. In fact, in most cases, you’ll get LESS variety if you rely on growing seedlings from the garden center. There are certainly benefits to growing your garden using transplants, but increased variety is not one of them.
25 Varieties of Peppers Grown From Seed
Here’s an example of this in action:
I love peppers. I want to eat as many delicious peppers as I possibly can. So I go to the grocery store to check out the fresh pepper selection, and there are 3.
Three: Bell, banana, and jalapeno.
That’s it. And if you cruise the pepper seedlings at the nursery, you’ll see the same three varieties with maybe a serrano thrown in for good measure.
On the other hand, I took this picture right before planting seeds of twenty-five varieties of peppers for my spring garden.
All 25 varieties took off. Every plant was full of peppers from June until a heavy frost killed them in the middle of December.
- We made stuffed pickled peppers out of the thick, sweet sheep nose pimento peppers.
- We filled lunch boxes galore with the mini-bells and the lunchbox mix.
- We blistered panfuls of shishito peppers in olive oil and salt all summer.
- We made jalapeno poppers that even the kids loved with our nadapenos (a heat-less jalapeno).
That’s only SOME of what we made with all those gorgeous peppers. Peppers we never would have been able to eat if we hadn’t planted our own seeds. And this is just a pepper example. This is true for every vegetable I can think of.
Reason # 2- You Get to Eat Better Tasting Vegetables
If you think you don’t like a vegetable, grow it yourself before you give up on it, because you may change your mind.
I’m serious. You’ve heard it before, and it’s true. Home-grown vegetables do taste better.
The tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables at the grocery store are NOT grown for good flavor. I repeat- grocery store veggies are NOT grown to ensure good flavor.
Grocery store vegetable varieties are bred and grown to last longer while they are being transported thousands of miles to get to the grocery store shelves.
The average apple in the store is one year old. A whole year.
Tomatoes can last for weeks because they were picked green and then shipped surrounded by a gas that causes their aging process to slow down. Yummy, that sounds delicious!! (sarcasm)
Meanwhile, your Cherokee Purple beefsteak tomato is perfectly ripe, warm from the sun, and just waiting for you to slice into it.
Another reason that vegetables you grow taste better than store-bought ones is that you can pick them earlier when they are more tender.
Many vegetables taste better when you pick them a bit early when they are smaller, softer, or less bitter. You have no control over that with grocery store vegetables, but you completely control that when you grow your own food.
An excellent example of this is eggplant.
Lots of people hate eggplant. H-A-T-E it. They hate it because ripe eggplant can be bitter. Really bitter. And those mammoth whoppers they sell at the grocery store have skins like leather and are usually quite bitter.
Yes, you can salt it to “draw out the bitterness”, but I don’t think that works at all. The salt just sort of masks the bitterness, it doesn’t draw it out of the vegetable.
The key to growing eggplant that isn’t bitter is to plant the right varieties and to pick the fruits early when they are smaller and more tender.
I planted 5 varieties of eggplant last year and several including Easter Egg and Ping Tung eggplant, and they were not bitter AT ALL. Seriously, not a bit of bitterness in any of them.
The eggplant here is just an example. You can “pick them small and young” for all types of vegetables so that you can enjoy meals in ways you can’t even imagine.
A complete list of home-grown foods from my garden that are so much better than anything I’ve ever bought at the grocery store includes:
- onions- my husband can’t eat raw onions from the grocery but has no problem with the ones we grow
- scallions- we have scallions on our back porch and grab them out of the soil whenever we need them
- collard greens- Think collards are bitter? I pick these at a ridiculously young, tender stage and there’s zero bitterness. There’s no way you can do that when buying from the store.
- romaine lettuce
- buttercrunch lettuce
- brussels sprouts
When these vegetables are out of season for me, I usually just refuse to buy them from the grocery store because I’ve gotten used to the superior flavor that comes out of my garden.
Reason # 3 – You Get to Save Money (I Save $1000/Year on only 4 vegetables)
Another reason to grow vegetables from seed is that it saves you money. Compared to either grocery shopping OR buying plants, growing from seed is much more cost-effective.
Growing a garden is cheaper than going to the store
A lot of folks don’t realize how much money you can save by gardening. I have saved THOUSANDS of dollars per year by having my own garden.
I saved $1000 last year on these 4 vegetables alone:
How I Save Over $200 Dollars Growing Lettuce from Seed
We all know we should be eating several servings of vegetables a day as part of a healthy diet, and bagged lettuce is the basis of that for many families.
The average American eats over 14 pounds of lettuce per year. For a family of 4, that’s 4.5 pounds of lettuce a month. At an average cost of $5/pound of organic lettuce, that’s $22.50 per month just for lettuce.
Growing your own is much cheaper. A pack of lettuce seeds costs $2 for basic varieties like romaine and buttercrunch, and $5 per pack for more fancy varieties. Each pack of seeds will grow a year’s supply of lettuce for a family of four.
For $22.50, you could have:
- Romaine lettuce (2 packs)
- Buttercrunch lettuce (2 packs)
- Swiss chard (1 pack)
- Spinach (1 pack)
- Kale (1 pack)
Plant 30 sq ft of any combination of these varieties and you’ll have lettuce for months. Pick the leaves while they are young and tender (like we discussed above) to have the best salad mix you ever tasted all season.
I have saved thousands of dollars per year by having my own garden. I saved $1000
How I Save $300 dollars Growing Asparagus from Seed/Crowns
Asparagus is a delicious vegetable, but it can be VERY expensive, especially if you eat it often.
I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about how I created an asparagus bed in our garden, and in that post I describe how planting asparagus from seed and 1- year old crowns will save me hundreds of dollars per year.
Asparagus is around $7-10 per pound at the grocery store. Asparagus plants yield 1/2 pound per plant, and I planted 75 plants. I should yield over 35 pounds of asparagus from the bed during the 8 weeks it is in season in the spring.
Home-grown asparagus is not only cost-effective for asparagus-lovers like me, but it also tastes better than store-bought asparagus.
How I Save $100 dollars Growing Shishito Peppers
As I said earlier, I love growing peppers. I planted 25 varieties, and 4 of those plants were Shishito peppers.
We ate blistered Shishito peppers every week for months, and the only cost involved was the cost of the seeds and fertilizer. If we had bought those at the grocery store, we’d have had to travel 45 minutes to the nearest Trader Joe’s to find them, and they would have cost over $100 from July-November.
How I Save $400 Dollars by Growing Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes are my last example, and they are a big one. You can save $10+ dollars a week on cherry tomatoes and more if you eat them a lot.
We grow 3-4 cherry tomato plants every year and we have enough to eat fresh, preserve some and sell what’s leftover. We eat a clamshell package of cherry tomatoes almost EVERY DAY from July- November so we save around $20 per week by growing our own. That’s $400 worth of tomatoes every year, and that only includes cherry tomatoes.
Reason #4 - Smaller Environmental Impact
It doesn’t make sense to truck large quantities of produce across the country when you think of all the extreme measures that are taken to get it to its destination.
Plants are picked green, then one kind of gas is pumped into the storage chamber to keep the food from ripening, and then another kind of gas is pumped into the storage chamber to encourage ripening once it gets close to its final destination.
Reason #5 - Fewer Trips to the Grocery Store & You Control Your Supply Chain
The last reason you should start vegetables from seed is a practical one that’s related to safety.
When you have a garden full of vegetables that you love to eat, you make fewer trips to the grocery store.
Over the last 2 years, there have been interruptions in the supply chain that have impacted lots of different types of food. Those interruptions have been due to extremes in weather, some labor shortages due to the pandemic, and product hoarding during the pandemic.
Those shortages have let up a bit, but periodically shortages will happen, and if your garden is full of delicious, cost-effective food you’ve grown from seed, you won’t need to worry whether those foods are available or not.
Another very important reason to grow your own food is food safety. Instances of food contamination are spread throughout the country due to our centralized food system. Just last July, over 800 people in 37 states and Puerto Rico contracted salmonella poisoning from onions. We’re told to eat our vegetables, yet every time we turn around it seems we’re hearing about another case of food contamination.
You’ve heard the benefits of growing vegetables from seed. Now it’s time to start planning for your vegetable garden! The possibilities are endless and you can eat a greater variety, better-tasting vegetables – not to mention save money at the grocery store.
Which reason resonated with you most? Let me know in the comments below!