You can’t buy these seedlings in a shop

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Celeriac seedlings, with a bit more growing to do yet
Celeriac seedlings, with a bit more growing to do yet

There’s a lot to be said for growing vegetables from store-bought seedlings. It’s quick and easy, and you can be confident that the seedlings are ready to plant right away. It can also give an earlier start, and therefore earlier harvesting times.

The one big drawback, however, is that you’re limited to what’s available in stores.

Every year, the “classics” will be available in any gardening centre: herbs, onions, cabbages, beans, peas, etc. These will typically be the same varieties from year-to-year.

There will also be some less common stuff, based on the latest trends, or on what’s been showcased on national TV gardening shows.

That still leaves a lot of plants that never appear in garden centres, including the majority of the heirloom varieties.

This is where it pays to grow things from seed, purchased from one of the many seed suppliers. The seedlings above are celeriac, for example, which is a tasty addition to the winter table.

I’ve also grown a bunch of heirloom brassicas, parsnips and french red shallots. Yum!

You can, of course, mix-and-match. Which is what we’ve done — I don’t think that’s “cheating”!

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