Starting your garden from seed can add a whole new experience to growing your own food, flowers - even houseplants!

Starting your garden from seed can add a whole new experience to growing your own food, flowers – even houseplants!

There are a lot of reasons to sow your own seeds! Everyone has their own reasons, perhaps to save money, or just for fun, or for the variety available. While it may seem intimidating at first, in this episode Joe will share some of the joys and specific how-tos of growing your own plants from seed.

For starters, seed packets cost far less than purchasing individual plants. Extra seed can be saved from year to year. Even with the additional expense of lighting, growing containers, and heating, these are largely one-time expenses and may already be things you have around or can find inexpensively.

Selection, selection, selection! From mail-order seed catalogs to seed swaps to trading with friends to looking through your stock of seed saved from years past, the varieties available to you are countless. When purchasing plants, you have the selection of what your favorite garden center or online vendors have already chosen to grow and offer for that season.

You control the timing of your growing season. Start seeds indoors early and plant them out when you like. Stagger your sowing and planting times for a rolling harvest. Extend your growing season, even experiment with growing veggies in the winter in a greenhouse if you like. It’s up to you!

Need more reasons? It’s just fun! It’s highly rewarding to watch your little lovelies grow, get the kids interested and involved, share seeds and seed starts with friends, and try all sorts of different varieties for fun in the kitchen. Create truly unique bouquets you’d never find in a store, and then continue sharing the harvest and save seeds again for coming years!

In this episode, Chef Nathan Lyon also creates a fresh-from-the-garden apple and cabbage coleslaw that’s both sweet and refreshing – perfect for a bright autumn day.

For additional information:


Growing A Greener World is a national gardening series on Public Television that features organic gardening, green living and farm to table cooking. Each episode focuses on compelling and inspirational people making a difference through gardening. This gardening series covers everything from edible gardening and sustainable agriculture to seasonal cooking and preserving the harvest.

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    • says

      Kevin, if you’re asking me which I prefer, it would be organic every time. Organic seeds are harvested from plants that are grown organically as well, thereby eliminating the use of synthetic chemicals to raise the parent plants. Anything that cuts down on the use and demand of synthetic chemicals (and the fossil fuels used to make them!) is my preferred choice.
      Having said that, I’d take non-organic seeds over GMO seeds.

  1. says

    I watched one of your programs about seed saving and you were in a state that had a good climate for growing gardens…can’t remember what the name of the show or state was. The man showed you how to harvest pumpkin seeds i.e. washing them over and over to clean and get the best ones. The state and area of that state is what I am interested in. It was stated that it was one of the best areas to grow a garden. We are trying to find a new home and I am having a time finding a place in the country that is away from pesticides and GMO farming. I have became very sensitive to the chemicals due to a prescription drug my doctor almost killed me with so, now we are trying to find an area in the good ole USA that my husband can hunt and I can grow an organic garden. Any suggestions I am at my ropes end . Please help.
    Thank you for your time

  2. Edward Graham says

    Have always enjoyed your series. We used to get it here in Athens GA. I started back with Jim Crocket-way back when. How do we get you on PBS in Atlanta so we can view your program? Thanks amnd keep up the quality broadcasts. Ed G

    • says

      We’re working on it Edward! It’s a big priority for us too being based here in Atlanta. We’ll send out notices as soon as we are able to secure a spot in their lineup so hang in there and we’ll get there as soon as possible.

  3. carrie says

    Great show. Was wondering if you had a pattern for the ruler that you made for planting the seed outside? Thanks

    • says

      Hi Carrie. Yes, I do have a pattern for the ruler you saw on this show. Unfortunately I don’t have that information handy yet but the good news is we are including the details in an upcoming episode on how to make it. On the show I’ll make one and show you step by step how to do that. By then, we’ll also have the details for the show notes. The episode in which this will appear is #412 and will air around 9/21. You can also view it on our website after that.

  4. K HETTICH says

    I saw this episode for the first time today. You started with choosing seeds, exchanging them, etc. I wish you had told us how to keep left-over seeds. The seeds I’ve gathered from gardens go into paper bags, but when do they have to go into plastic bags, if ever?
    Thank you for your attention.

    • says

      The key is not the plastic bags but the fact that the seeds stay cool and dry. Some seeds stored this way will last for years, while others as little as one year, yet most last several. An airtight container stored in a cool dark place is perfect. A refrigerator is ideal and those old 35mm film canisters are great for storing the seeds. But since those are becoming very hard to find, the plastic bags work well. Paper is good, just not as air tight or moisture resistant.

      You can find out if your stored seeds are still viable by take a few and wrapping them in a damp paper towel. If they germinate in a reasonable time, you know you’ve got viable seed. Make note of how many sprouted though. It’s a sign of just how viable your seed inventory is.

  5. Emily says


    In the episode, you mentioned how important it is to use a sterile mix engineered for starting seeds. But, the info on the blocking mix recipe from doesn’t look sterile… It has garden soil and compost in it, among other things, which aren’t sterile.

    Is it important to sterilize my components if I make my own blocking mix? I’ve sterilized potting soil before in an oven bag in my oven. Can I sterilize peat and compost the same way?


    • says

      Hi Emily. Good question. To clarify, sterile mix is important for starting seeds compared to ordinary “non-composted” garden soil. Lots of pathogens there than can cause problems with your seedlings.
      The soil mix that is offered by Johnny’s is a recipe that has been used for a long time and developed by Eliot Coleman who has been starting seeds with this mix for years with great success and no known problems. I don’t know what they do if anything to deal with any potential soil pathogens but it’s worked well. Perhaps it’s the compost mixed it. But I would say you could use your oven as you have in the past to make and sterilize your own soil mix.

    • Rickster says

      when you make a soil block, you pack the soil tight enough it makes a loose brick. you plant the seed in this. doing it this way keeps you from having to use peat cups or plastic packs.

  6. says

    1st. time visiting this site, LOVE it !!
    I’m going to try for my first time to seeding, growing from seeds
    need all the help I can get with information U can sent me.
    keep up the great work.
    bobby D.

  7. Joy Burns says

    This summer a gardening friend emailed me about your show, growing a greener world. I have been enjoying it ever since. Keep up the great work! I especially loved learning about Polyface farms, composting (thank you! for including what I can use for the “brown” material in a compost mix!!! This part is hard to find where I live.)

    I was eager to find the “show notes” for episode 315 because I wanted to learn about soil block soil and tools. I am having trouble finding them. Would you, please, help me find where these show notes are located on the website?

    • says

      Hi Joy. Sorry to be so late in responding to your question about finding info on the soil blocks but I just now saw this. There are links here in the show notes that should take you right to Johnny’s Selected Seeds where we got our equipment. The links are above in the show notes but if you get to the Johnny’s website, they have a lot of great information there and you should find exactly what you are looking for.

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