Page 1 of 3You can sow (plant) the seeds of most fruit and vegetable plants directly into your garden. It's the most affordable, convenient path to a bounty of fresh, delicious produce from your own backyard. So why would anyone want to buy costly seedlings (starter plants) from a nursery or sow seeds indoors instead of outdoors?
Put simply, you cannot put every plant or seed directly into the soil because the growing period of some plants is longer than the growing season of your hardiness zone. Therefore, some plants need to be grown indoors (or at a nursery) before you can transplant them into the garden. Starting your own seeds indoors is more economical and will give you a head-start on the growing season. Plus, you'll be able to experiment with a wider variety of plant species than the common varieties of seedlings available at your local nursery.
You should always consult the back of your seed packets for exact planting instructions, but here are some examples of plants that typically need a head start indoors (including the number of weeks prior to your zone's last anticipated frost date that you should start the seeds indoors): Continued ›