Sow Now, Cheer Later – Getting Started with Seeds, Seedlings

Getting Started with Seeds, Seedlings

With the help of a little patience and a few bags of seeds, you can grow a beautiful balcony garden, even when you’re on a budget.
Most people go to a plant nursery and pay a lot of money for plants they have grown from tiny seedlings. They have large fields to pay for, greenhouses, and wages for their employees.
You can easily do their job a lot cheaper. But that’s not the point. (Not the whole point, at least.)
What’s more is the immense feeling of pride and accomplishment you’ll experience when you look at the wonderful flowers that spread their scents on your balcony, knowing you’ve grown them yourself from scratch.
Or when you’re harvesting your first basil leaves or leeks, remembering how you dropped tiny seeds into the soil only a while ago.
This feeling is much better than what you’ll experience if you bought your plants or even seedlings.

Easy Choice with Annual Plants

A lot of flowers are annual plants and even when you sow them, they’ll flourish pretty fast.
This is an easy choice to make. You only need so little more patience before you can watch your reward with satisfaction.
Even some plants like strawberry which will live for years is easy and fast to sow. If you sow in the spring, you’ll harvest delicious berries in the late summer or autumn, depending on their kind.

What About Tomatoes?

Most people buy tiny tomato plants. They are annual, but they take from 60-100 days of growth from seed to harvest. Is that too long to wait? In that case, buy a few pots.
It may very well be worth the waiting time of 2-3 months to sow your own. It’s immensely rewarding to watch them grow from only being a tiny sprout that peeks up from the ground (or egg tray) and until you see ripe, red tomatoes clinging to healthy stems.
You can buy seeds or plants in nurseries or online on Amazon, but you can also scrape seeds from tomatoes and use them to grow your own plants. Note, though, that sadly, some of those seeds you get from store-bought crops are sterile and will only rot in the soil.
Or, in case of tomatoes, they were harvested while they were still green and then treated with gas to ripen. Their seeds may still be too immature to germinate.
Still, it won’t cost you much to try. Or you can simply buy the seeds in a bag.

Consider Starting the Seeds Indoor

You can start some seeds as early as the previous autumn to plant them as seedlings or tiny plants on your balcony later. If you start early, or live in a cold climate, you should keep them indoor.
Use small containers for your seeds. You can use egg trays or special seed containers, which you can get from Amazon or your plant nursery.
When you buy seeds, check the bags for when it’s best to sow and how you should do it. This will vary from plant to plant.
If you get seeds from someone else or gather them yourself from produce like strawberries or kiwi, you can find your answers online.
Once your seeds have sprouted and turned into tiny plants or seedlings, you can take them outside.

Moving Your Seedlings and Tiny Plants

Once you’re certain that your former seeds are big enough to handle the outside world, you can start moving them from their cradle.
Use small pots at first, unless your plants will grow fast and create roots that will go deep into the ground, like leeks or carrots.
Give them the best soil mix and water them after you’ve moved them. Then keep an extra eye on them for a while until you’re certain that they are growing and thriving as they should.
Now, these kinds of flowers and produce are an easy choice to sow. But what about produce that takes more patience? Is it worth it?

Consider Sowing Hardy Perennials

I sowed my first hardy perennial by mistake. I was young and didn’t know much about gardening. I knew, however, that I loved leeks and that they were rather expensive to buy in the supermarket.
So I sowed leek seeds in my tiny garden. Visitors, more experienced with gardening than me back then, laughed when they saw it. But I had the last laugh when I harvested my delicious leeks the following year.
It was worth waiting for.

Sow or Buy Seedlings

Most people will buy seedlings when they aim to grow hardy perennials in their garden. Including balcony gardens.
You buy them in the spring, and you’ll harvest in the autumn or winter, depending on the species.
That’s definitely a good way to grow hardy perennials like leek, but it’s a bit more expensive and it deprives you of the satisfaction of having done it all yourself from scratch.
You don’t even need to be an experienced gardener to do this, which I’m living proof of.

Do Both

Maybe the best solution for you would be to do both. You buy and plant seedlings this year, and you sow at the same time (or the time that’s best suited for sowing your crop).
You can then harvest later that same year. Next year, you’ll have seedlings and just have to repeat with the sowing. From now on, you’ll every year just have to sow and make new seedlings yourself.
There’s a slight disadvantage to using this method. You’ll need to set aside space for both your seeds and seedlings. If you have limited space, this may not be the solution for you.


Should you go seeds, seedlings, or small plants? The decision is yours and it depends on your budget as well as your level of patience.
There’s a clear advantage to buying plants. You can enjoy the flowers faster. You can put your teeth in your crops faster.
You pay more for speed, but that’s how it always is.
On the other hand, you could empower yourself with patience, sow the seeds and wait for them to germinate. Your balcony garden will bring you pleasure later, but it will be a much higher pleasure.
Only you can make the choice.

Haven Greensprout

I've found my passion in balcony gardening, relishing the simplicity and joy it brings to my urban life. The thrill of harvesting my own veggies has transformed my balcony into a lush oasis, proving there's unmatched delight in homegrown goodness.

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