Questions And Answers On Garden Plants And Seeds

Chris asks…

I am starting a garden: should I plant seeds or plants?

I live in Northwest Missouri and the weather is finally starting to warm up. I think the frost date has passed. I decided to start a garden a few days ago. I have dug up and tilled the garden. I need to know- should I buy seeds and plant them directly outside or do I need to buy already started plants. Seeds are cheaper but I want to do whatever will yield veggies. I know I should have started seeds indoors in January, but I didn’t. Is it too late for me and my garden dreams? please provide me with a list of veggies I can buy as seeds and a list that I better buy as plants. I want to grow a little of everything. Any advice will be appreciated! Thanks! Also- we have a lot of cow manure (we own cattle) what does “well rotted” mean and how do I get it that way? How can I prevent weeds from growing? Please note: where we live the wind never stops blowing.

Home Gardener answers:

First–Allanman plainly you have never had a garden. Gardening is exercise. Fresh air and Exercise that brings you fresh veggies–you go to the gym–I’ll garden.

Peter I don’t know where you live but it is clearly in the Southern States.

The last frost date in Missouri is somewhere in the first or second week of May. Plant peas, lettuce,, and radish seed and onion dutch sets now. They like the cooler weather. Plant other seeds the first week of may. It will take a couple of weeks to come through the ground. Plant peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and melon vines last when the ground is warmer about the third week of May. Tomatoes and peppers must be plants, cucumbers can be plants or seed as can the melon vines if they are early maturing

Davina asks…

To plant an herb garden is it better to get seeds or the plants already started?

I want to do the herbs in containers too. Should I get the plants already started and plant them in the pots, or should I get seeds and plant them in the pots? What about those herb growing kits that come with the seeds that are in these little peat moss pellets? Also, if I want organic herbs does that mean I need to buy organic herb seed or organic herb plant, or will it be organic either way as long as I’m not using chemicals? Thanks! Obviously inexperienced over here…

Home Gardener answers:

That depends upon whether you are good at seed starting. If you enjoy gardening and like to watch the development, seeds are the way to go. If you are rather in a hurry and not too gardening savvy, you will want to go with the starts. I love to plant, and there is only one way to get started: just do it!

If you do not want many herbs, however, you may just want to buy a start or two; depending upon the herb.

Organic means there were no chemicals used on the seed and that they were harvested and grown naturally. You can buy organic seed; most of the ones in the stores are not. Some are, so read the packet.

I would avoid peat pots and peat in general. It is running out and soil and pots are great anyway. We do not want to deplete the earth too quickly!

Seeds of Change has great organic seeds. You pay a bit more for them, but of course it is environmentally desirable to use them.


David asks…

how do I save seeds from my garden?

How do I salvage the seeds from my garden plants that have done well, ie tomatoes and corn etc.

Home Gardener answers:

Corn,  just save a cob. You can re plant it all next year. You can take it off the cob and put it in a jar. Tomato seeds should be dried on a piece of paper towel and stored in a cool dry place until next spring.

Mike asks…

can you use a tanning bed to start flowers/veggies seeds gardening plants?

My dad and I just cleaned out a room to get a bed for my daughter that my mom had tucked away and there was a tanning bed in there. it is just the top of the tanning bed and it works and gets warm. We love to garden and the question came to us:

“Would it work to start seeds and grow plants?”

seems like it would be better than grow lights but not sure what the actual differance is????

So, If you know of an answer for us that would be great!!

we were thinking about using in conjunction with his grow lights ….turn on the tanning bed for like an hour a day for intense direct light and heat?

Home Gardener answers:

Given that people get a bit fried if they stay under a tanning bed too long, I fear your plants would not fare well. Also, I don’t think these things are designed to be left on 24/7 – could be a fire hazzard, not to mention your electricty bill going through the roof. Go to the garden centre & buy a small heated propagator – you’ll get reliable results for a fraction of the cost !

Just seen your additional details. It still wouldn’t be good. Propagators work with a gentle heat underneath, to mildly warm the soil. Intense heat from above will destroy young tender leaves. Sell the tanning thing on ebay & use the cash to buy a heated propagator.

Cindy asks…

can you plant garden seeds for next year in the ground this fall?

meaning…after my plants in the garden die this year would it be possible to plant next years crop this fall? I have raised beds with low tunnels (which have protected my plants this year as low as 23 degrees so far) and we get a lot of snow here. My plan is to cover my beds in early April, it tends to still be pretty cold around here and the ground is usually still frozen. My theory is that if I just cover the beds with the seeds ALREADY frozen in the ground that by the time the regular growing season starts (june 1st here) they already have 6 weeks growth….is this crazy or should it work? I will grow my more tender plants (tomatoes, peppers) under lights until it’s time to plant outside but I am thinking of this idea for things like squash, pumpkins. cucumbers, beets, carrots, onion etc….any thoughts would be helpful, thank you!

Im not planning on growing plants during winter…I guess my real question is…will those aforementioned seeds stay dormant in the winter and sprout in the spring like other seeds chives, cilatro, 4 o’clocks, marigold…etc???

Home Gardener answers:


there are several options for you.

Start them after the first frost. You will have great luck

Caroline asks…

Do I put mulch in the garden before or after planting seeds?

I got some packets of ground-cover type flower seeds, like wildflowers I guess, to plant in a section of garden area in front of my house. I am not too concerned with placement so I’m just going to spread them around and see what happens and hope they grow.

I am figuring mulching over top of seeds or newly grown plants will suffocate them, but I just want to make sure because I’m not too educated with gardening.

Thanks in advance.

Home Gardener answers:

You use mulch last.  Or you can spread the mulch first and then open a small hole in the mulch to plant the seed or seedling in and leave it open so the plant can grow.

Also, when your flowers or plants start to grow, put banana peels around them. Helps them bloom to their fullest.

If you plant bulbs, put hair (dog, cat, yours) around the bulb so other animals don’t dig them up and eat ‘em.

Don asks…

I know nothing about gardening. I planted wildflower seeds directly in my garden. Are they going to grow?

I didn’t know anything about starting them indoors and now I am reading all this stuff on them and I’m worried. My mom passed away this winter and she was the one to do all this stuff and I’ve never really payed attention. Actually she always just bought flowers. Anyways. I planted them well after any chance of frost and I water them everyday. They are in a mostly sunny partly shady area which they called for. I also planted a vine. Should I just count it as a loss and go buy flowers or do you think there is hope?

Home Gardener answers:

I too planted wildflower seeds in a shady/sunny part of my garden, I watered them every morning and I did get some flowers after a while (can’t remember how long) but I didn’t get near what the container said I would get nor did they ever look real healthy. I am sure I did everything right but I think its easier just to buy flowers and plant them. Though saying that there is something about feeling like you actually grew them from seed which is a pretty good feeling.

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