Vegetable Garden Basics – Start Seeds or Buy Plants?

My Garden Life
March 27, 2019
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Starting a vegetable garden is fun and challenging. There are many decisions to make, and you will want to plan a lot of the details before you get started. One of the decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want to start your vegetables from seeds or plants that have already started growing. There are advantages to both depending on your circumstances.

Consider the Plant

One thing you want to consider as you plan your garden is the plant itself. Some crops do better when they are direct seeded. They may be sensitive about being moved around, so buying seeds and putting them directly into the ground is your best option. Other plants, transplant very easily. These are good choices for buying as plants and transferring them into your garden to cut down on the wait time between planting and harvesting.

Here are plants that are best started from seed:

Planting Corn Seed Directly

Plants that can be purchased already growing and that transplant easily include:

Transplanting Tomato Seedlings into a Vegetable Garden

Consider the Growing Season

Another thing to take into consideration is your area’s growing season. Each growing area, or zone, is different. Southern and Western regions have long growing seasons compared to the North.

If you live in a very warm climate you may be able to transplant certain vegetables that are usually direct seeded, like corn. But if your growing season is very short because your area gets more cold weather than it does warm, then you might want to skip the seeds and just purchase the plants. This reduces the amount of time you’ll have to wait for your vegetables to grow, and it gives your plants a better chance of surviving.

Consider Your Time Constraints

If you don’t have the time to plant and tend a garden from seeds through maturity, and you prefer crops sooner rather than later, you’ll probably want to buy plants instead of starting them from seeds. Many vegetable seeds take a week or more to sprout and break ground, and most have a 50- to 70-day waiting period between planting and harvesting. If you don’t feel like waiting two months or more for your crops, or you simply don’t have the time to commit to a seedling garden, then you should buy the plants.

Sometimes it’s nice to have a combination of plants you’ve transplanted and plants you’ve started from seeds. While this is usually done in areas with a longer growing season it can be done almost anywhere. This combination approach allows you to harvest food more quickly and over a longer period of time, allowing you to enjoy your crops well into the summer. Experiment with one or two vegetable crops and see what works best for you.

Which vegetables will you grow this summer? Let us know in the comments below if you’ll be starting your plants from seed or transplanting seedlings.

Vegetable Container Garden on Patio


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