Strange IndiaStrange India

If you spend any time on GardenTok (or talking to gardeners), you know it’s all about seeding right now. This time of year, gardeners always feel behind, filled with anxiety about the seeding they should be doing—getting them, planting them, monitoring them. Well, I have a secret: I myself have not yet started any seeds and every day I don’t is a practice in anxiety reduction. If you also feel behind the eight ball, don’t stress about it. There are three good reasons you can take a year off from starting your own seeds. 

You already know people starting seeds

Those friends constantly posting about their adorable seedlings? Enlist them to help you out. Ask them to start a tray for you; you’ll be surprised how often people are happy to do so. Offer to return the favor in fall, or to put the seed tray together for them so they just need to babysit it. Over the last 10 years I’ve had friends with greenhouses offer to help out by getting seeds started for me, and I’ve done the same for others. If you’re already watering and tending to seedlings, another tray or two is barely extra work. And people who love to grow things are happy for another excuse to do it. 

It’s perfectly fine to buy starts, if you can afford it

You and I both know that in a month, you’ll be able to buy tomato seedlings absolutely everywhere, in every kind of variety you can imagine. It might hurt your pride and pocketbook to buy them, but that’s for you and your therapist to work out. The reality is you won’t miss out on the garden season just because you didn’t get started early enough, and your garden won’t suffer because you didn’t grow the seedlings yourself. It’s okay to give yourself some grace and sit this one out if you just have too much to do. None of us have to do it all. 

You’re forgetting about the extras

A fundamental truth of gardening is that if people grow seedlings, they grow too many. In early May, everyone will start divesting of those extra seedlings when they run out of room in their growing space, before they can go in the ground. If you can hold out, there will be freebies—or, at least, cheapies—for the taking. If you don’t already participate in a gardening group online or in person, join one and then just wait. Or be proactive and ask! It’s not only gardeners, either. Once a year I get a mysterious drop-off from someone who clearly works at a big box store and has a tender heart. They leave hundreds of overgrown tomato and pepper starts (that were probably bound for the trash) at the foot of my driveway, somehow sure I’ll find homes for them. 

And readers, I always do. 

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