Pros and cons of their seedlings, or When is it better to buy seedlings?
Every year in February I ask myself this question and every year the answer is different. Why is that? But I want to share these thoughts with you. It would seem that the answer is obvious - your seedlings are cheaper. But the matter is not only in price. Let's put on the shelves all the pros and cons of our and purchased seedlings (if you forgot something, remind us in the comments).
Cons of self-growing seedlings
1. Lack of experience
You are a beginner gardener. At some point in your life an insight happens to you (it was the same with me) - I will grow everything with my own hands! Fortunately, there are a lot of beautiful pictures on the Internet right now. And it’s good if there is a plot. But it turns out that you can get by with the front garden near the high-rise building, you can have a balcony, or you can use a flower pot.
Excited by such pictures, you go to a garden store or an ordinary supermarket and see a huge selection of seeds, and in bright packages with very effective images of fruits or flowers. Here you have both early and super-early varieties, and new hybrids, and old "grandmother's" names ... And how many more are unknown at all! Well, buy it. But there is no experience in growing seedlings.
If it grows, it is pale green on thin legs, and half do not live up to the time of transplantation. Another part - it will not survive. As a result, the discarded money. But that’s all right. But disappointment, the feeling of being a failure and incompetent can kill any desire and continue to engage in gardening.
Therefore, my advice to you, beginners. Take a dozen seeds of the most common crops (ask your friends or collect yourself) and try to bring them to your “window of mind” on your windowsill, getting good, strong seedlings. If it works, continue.
2. Lack of conditions
Often, even with experience, we do not have the conditions for growing seedlings. If it is not difficult to provide watering and top dressing, then temperature and light can already become problems. But these four factors are very closely interconnected to obtain high-quality seedlings.
As a rule, amateurs (not professionals) to grow seedlings have one place in the house - the windowsill. Here, the heat source is the battery, and the light is the window. But this is bad luck, for seedlings it is desirable to change the temperature, I would say, to regulate the heating of the battery. So, for seed germination, it is desirable to have a temperature of + 22 ... + 25 degrees, and after the emergence of seedlings, it is desirable to lower it to +20.
And with the light in February and March, it’s really a disaster - the day is too short, and even overcast, as usual. Additional lighting equipment is indispensable. In addition to seedlings, you have to master the heat and electrical engineering. Yes, and windowsills may be few and have to build a special rack.
3. Own seedlings - far from free
It’s difficult to calculate the money for growing your seedlings, but we’ll figure it out. Buying seeds, buying cassettes and soil mixtures, buying additional lighting, paying for electricity (since the lamps are already energy-saving, but they themselves cost money), buying fertilizers and drugs for diseases and pests in order to bring your seedlings to the right condition. How much did you get?
4. The need for daily monitoring
Growing seedlings on their own is a troublesome task that requires 100% involvement in the process. It needs to be controlled at least twice a day - in the morning and in the evening. Turning the backlight on and off is important at the same time (a timer is a good thing, but this is another expense item). Want to go on a visit or a business trip? Excluded, seeded seedlings will not let go.
5. Seedlings - dirty business
Dirt and inconvenience for two to three months you provided. No matter how you try, pieces of soil, puddles and dirty stains on the windowsills are inevitable. Plastic can be washed, and wooden can begin to deteriorate. And loved ones will not always rejoice at your ventures. If the limit of 3 window sills is exceeded, they can rebel, there is little beauty in seedlings, and the light from the phytolamps is unpleasant for the eyes.
6. Additional stress
Constant stress at the sight of suddenly dying, yesterday still such strong shoots - this "black leg" has come to visit.
7. Poor end result
Did you grow up seedlings that are not entirely conditioned? She will probably survive, and will even give a crop (if about garden crops), but 2-3 weeks later than usual. And there comes the time phytophthora. So, you will harvest a little.
Another argument against growing their seedlings is pets, or more precisely, cats. They can rummage in the earth purely out of curiosity, or maybe just out of harm. They can taste the seedlings due to their physiological needs. Moreover, in the latter embodiment, the harm can be mutual. Take this into account!
It seems to have listed everything that makes me think about growing seedlings.
Pros of self-growing seedlings
1. Your seedling is a holiday
Own seedlings are always the beginning of the season, which means a holiday for the gardener. At the end of winter, hands are already "itching", but there is nothing else to do in the garden.
2. The ability to grow exactly those varieties that you need
Your seedlings are always the varieties and types of plants you need. Often, when buying seedlings, we are satisfied with the fact that the seller has grown, and often this is a matter of trust. Does the seedling purchased match what we were promised?
Buying seeds, of course, you also do not have a 100% guarantee of their germination and conformity, but reputable companies still value their reputation, and the choice of crops and varieties is huge.
3. Own seedlings - healthy seedlings
Caring for your seedlings, although the process is troublesome, but it will allow you to grow it healthy, I mean not infected with diseases and pests. After all, you control it and consider it literally several times a day. Seedling sellers grow it in large quantities and are not able to completely control its condition - it can be seemingly strong, but infected.
4. Good condition of the root system of seedlings
Its seedlings, peaked in time, is a guarantee of a good state of the root system when planting in open ground. In the market, seedlings are often sold in a common bundle, with bound roots wrapped in a wet newspaper. If you try to untangle them and divide part of the roots, you will lose, which means you will lose valuable time - the plant will recover for several days.
5. Preparedness of seedlings for open ground conditions
For good survival of seedlings in open ground, it must be accustomed to this in advance. I believe that for seedlings it is better to take soil from your own site, only slightly improving it with peat and fertilizer additives. Let the youth know in what soil she has to grow. Seedlings and gradual hardening are necessary, preparation for sunlight, temperature fluctuations and wind. Did the seller do this procedure? Is not a fact.
6. The annual cultivation of their seedlings is profitable!
If you decide that you will grow your seedlings every year, then it is economically profitable. Despite the costs listed above, these are costs not for one season. And if you “beat your hand” and you can sell the surplus to neighbors, then it can become a profitable business.
It seems to have forgotten nothing too?
So, grow or buy seedlings?
Now to summarize. In my opinion, if you are an inveterate gardener, gardener, then growing seedlings is your own, and all of the above problems will not scare you. If you are a working person, but sometimes loving to dig deeper into the ground, it is better to buy seedlings ready, saving yourself the hassle and attachment to cassettes and containers.
True, you need to be able to buy it. First, look at the roots, whether they are well developed, then inspect the stems. If the seedlings are tempered, then it is not pale green, but darkened, with a purple tint. Talk to the seller. A good seller will tell you everything about her and explain what to do next. By the way, the price of high-quality seedlings is not too low.
Well, and, if you will, I’ll tell you about my seedlings and my choice. Since I consider myself a “lazy gardener,” I have a peculiar attitude to seedlings. I completely refused to grow ordinary vegetables: potatoes, beets, carrots, peppers and eggplant. The price of finished fruits is low, and I don’t see any reason to mess with their cultivation, let alone grow their seedlings.
Another thing is cucumbers and tomatoes! In the summer I can not imagine a single day without a salad of these vegetables, which means they must always be at hand, which means seedlings are needed. But I buy it. Here the rule works - there are no conditions for growing. All bright and warm window sills are occupied by seedlings, but of completely different cultures - perennial. And you most likely will not find seedlings of these crops on the market - they are selling, and for a considerable amount of money, the plants have already grown.
Unlike vegetables, which should begin to yield as soon as possible, even not quite high-quality seedlings of magnolias, lavender, pines, cedars during the season are gradually gaining strength and are growing. They have nowhere to hurry, ahead of the years.
Have a good season and harvest!