Beautiful plants need not cost the earth
As with most things at the moment the cost of buying plants for the garden has risen but if you have the time and the space to grow your own plants from seed it will save money and be a rewarding experience too. If you want to fill your garden with colourful flowers and grow your own fruit and vegetables to enjoy throughout the year it is worth getting some seeds and giving it a go. As long as you take care of the seedlings, protecting them from frosts by not planting them out too early and feeding and watering them as necessary, your efforts should be rewarded.
If you are not an experienced gardener there is plenty of help out there. Seed packets always come with instructions on how to start the seeds off and it is important to follow the instructions. Depending on the size of the seeds the method that you use when planting can vary, for instance very small seeds such as begonia need to be sprinkled finely onto a seed tray filled with good quality, fine compost or vermiculite and watered by standing the seed tray in water for ten minutes. They will take a while to germinate but once the seedlings are big enough they can be pricked out and planted into individual pots.
If the seeds are medium sized such as tomatoes, peppers and some bedding plants they can be planted onto a tray of compost, but they will need more space to grow so they should be spaced out giving the seedlings more space to grow. Watering in the same way by standing the seed tray in a tray of water for ten minutes gives the seeds a good start and then regular watering can be done, as necessary. Once grown the seedlings can be left in the tray until you are ready to plant out in the garden or vegetable beds.
Pea and bean seeds are much larger and so can be planted in individual pots straight away. Fibre pots are useful as they can be planted straight out into the soil without having to take the seedling out of the pot and possibly damaging the plant.
Buying packets of seeds is a much more cost effective way to grow plants as the number of seeds that are in a packet will produce many plants which can be used or sold on if you have surplus to requirements.