My garden is a work in progress — I’ve done all the landscaping myself, little by little over the summers we’ve lived here. But while I’d love to have a garden full of gorgeous perennials, I still have bare spots I need to fill in with annuals. That means spending money on plants every year — and that gets really expensive.
This year we don’t have much money to spend on the garden. Instead, I’ll be headed to a community event for some free compost, and instead of buying flats or pots of plants, I’ll be using seeds to fill in the bare spots and grow my vegetables.
Seeds are the cheapest way to plant a garden. They’re also portable — if you don’t have a car, you can pop your whole summer’s worth of planting into your purse to tote home. And you don’t have to worry about all the garbage created from those plastic flats.
For a lot of people, seeds can be intimidating (at least they are for me!). I don’t have the time or space to let them germinate in my house before planting. The good news is that not all seeds need to be fussed over before you pop them in the ground.
Last year, for example, I planted morning glories, green beans and carrots, and had nice full plants within a few weeks. My son was also able to help me and had a great time planting.
For anyone looking to garden on the cheap and plant with seeds this year, I’ve put together a quick cheat sheet with some of the easiest garden staples to grow from seeds. Take a look and put these on your list when you head to the garden centre (I will be!):
Morning glories: Scatter your seeds at the bottom of a lattice or fence and watch them climb through the summer.
Cosmos: Tall with colourful flowers, these things grow and spread quickly — I love them. They can help fill in bare spots beautifully.
Green beans: Pop these into the ground and you’ll have beans for dinner all summer. Just make sure to plant them around a few poles or stakes to give them something to grow on.
Sweet peas: One of my favourite flowers, sweet peas are always much more lush when planted from seeds.
Sweet alyssum: I love alyssum and find that seeds actually yield the best results. Plant these and enjoy the heady scent in late August and through the early fall.
Catnip: Good for cat lovers — but beware of attracting all the neighbourhood cats and having your garden become the block toilet for felines.
Arugula: These sprout quickly and abundantly — you get a lot of bang for your buck with these seeds.
Carrots: My son loved planting carrots last year. But make sure you plant them far enough apart (my son dumped the whole bag of seeds on one spot and my carrots all grew together!). I’m hoping for better results this year.
There are probably many more options — this is just a starter list. Feel free to suggest more below (preferably before I head to the garden centre!).