Advantages of a Self Sowing Garden

One of my projects this year is a self seeding garden. I showed you in yesterday’s post what I’ve done so far and I mentioned a few of my personal reasons for planting a self sowing garden but since that post I thought of a few more general ideas why someone might want to consider planting one.

1. Cost – seeds are much more inexpensive than buying full grown plants. Unique seed packets could run as much as $5 for a packet of 5 seeds but most seed packets usually cost much less. I expect to pay $2-$3 for the seed packets with about 30 or more seeds in each. You can also trade with other gardeners for seeds or use seed you may have saved from previous years. Neither of those two methods will cost you a dime, except maybe in postage. Once the garden is established the plants grow, produce seeds, deposit their seeds and begin the cycle all over again. Either collect the seeds for resowing yourself or just let them drop and grow where they fall.

2. Easy maintenance – if it seeds itself you don’t have to plant it! You will still have to water it and weed it but if everything goes according to plan (not the gardener’s plan, Mother Nature’s) you won’t need to do much in the way of planting.

3. Appearance – Some of the most gorgeous gardens that I’ve seen are very natural in appearance. Turning over the control of your garden to natural seed dispersal will lead to you that natural looking garden oasis. The garden may even end up housing some unique hybrid plants of over time. The first year will appear very orderly but each subsequent year the garden will morph away from order ascend into pleasing chaos.

4. The element of surprise! Seed dispersal will vary from year to year which will change the combination of blooms. A cosmos planted next to the zinnias one year might end up over next to the sweat peas the next. If a plant ends up where you don’t want it just pull it like a weed (after all a weed is just a plant in the wrong spot) or transplant it, whichever method your conscious can handle.

The only disadvantage I can see is for those who prefer rigid symmetry and order imposed upon nature. If that description matches you then this garden doesn’t!

11 Replies to “Advantages of a Self Sowing Garden”

  1. Hi Dave, oh this is too fun! That element of surprise is a biggee for me, I love surprises! And have something for the sweet peas to climb is a must. I am trying those spiral stakes that I bought last year for the tomotes for the sweet peas this time, the tomatoes got way too big for those frail but cute stakes. I like the look of them bare even. How did you stake your tomatoes?

  2. Frances,

    The Surprise Element will probably be the most fun of all. Just to see how it changes over time should be interesting. For the tomatoes I used a series of bamboo stakes but they bent under the weight of the tomatoes. Some of the vines ended up crawling along the ground in the end. Difficult for maneuvering but the produced like crazy. I might get some steel concrete reinforcement wire for cages this year. I haven’t decided on that part of the garden yet!

  3. Dave,

    I have been stocking up on seeds that sow nicely…Aren’t we lucky to have a long growing season, we can have several sowings of cosmos and zinnia. I love the ease, relatively cheap seeds and pure fun of self sowers. This garden will be wonderful for your girls…they can plant seeds and watch them grow! Do you see that sunshine! Sigh, it’s so welcome!


  4. Hi Dave, I love the natural, casual, cottagey look of lots of volunteers in the garden. I like being able to transplant some of them too.

  5. This will be a fun garden to grow Dave. I had a wildflower garden one season and it was random & interesting. It will also make a nice cutting garden too.

  6. Sounds a lot like a self-seeding wildflower garden Dave, and a great idea. “Rigid symmetry and order imposed upon nature” has become all too common and I’m all for changing that! ;~)

  7. I love surprises too! It will be neat to see how yours grows.

  8. This is a great idea Dave! I'm looking foward to reading & seeing more! Do you have your seeds picked out yet?

  9. Everything you said — I agree.


  10. Gail,

    We definitely should be thankful for that long growing season! With all this rain I’m still wishing it were longer!


    Extra transplants would be a fun bonus from the self sowing garden!


    A wildflower garden would make for some great cuttings.


    A certain amount of order is good, at least enough to be able to move around through pathways. I’ve always thought that a gardener should be a steward of nature. Unless the deer come to eat my trees.


    Thanks for the seeds! I’ll be using them in the garden.


    I do have a general idea what I want but I’ll save that for a future post. Maybe this weekend’s Sunday seed post.


    Then I agree with you too! 😉

  11. Glad you got them Dave.

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