Every year, I’ve set out to start seedlings of the exact varieties of plant I want to grow in the garden. Some grow well, others flop. In the spring, I get magnetically drawn to nurseries and garden centers, lured by seedlings of vegetables that make me green with envy. This weekend, Janna and I went to Bakers Acres, a greenhouse northeast of Columbus with a huge variety of less common vegetable seedlings (and perennials, annuals, bushes, trees and native widlflowers.) Though I have two trays of seedlings at home, we stocked up on tomatoes, peppers, squash, and more.

The nursery-grown seedlings tended to be less leggy, more robust, and all around healthier than those that I started. I did do relatively well on tomatoes, though. I was really excited to find huge ground cherry seedlings – with flowers and fruit set already, even! My tiny ground cherry seedlings have produced flowers, too, but I’ve pinched them out to get the plants to concentrate on making roots. I found a three-pack of huge purple tomatillos that tower over my 1/4 inch sprouts. Also, Jarrahdale and Rouge d’Vif Etamps squash, a few kinds of cucumber, three varieties of hot pepper, and lots of tomatoes that Janna’s in charge of.

My seedlings.

Seedlings from Baker's Acres.


Next year, I think I’ll face the fact that nurseries can just plain start seeds better than I can. While some of my starts have been really successful, others are duds. The seeds worth starting for me are ground cherries (though mine are midgets, compared, I’m sure they’ll fill out, and I was very lucky to find seedlings in the nursery,) tomatoes (mine did great, and there are thousands more varieties than can be found in even the most comprehensive nursery) and peppers (same for the same reason as tomatoes.) If my chichiquilite huckleberries and artichokes do well, I’ll probably start them from seed again as well – those are just plain never found as seedlings here in Ohio.

Ground Cherries: Baker's Acres' is on the left, mine is on the right.