How to choose between seeds and transplants

As part of Community Cultivators, I’m hosting the Starting Seeds, Spring Prep and Planting Workshop. Here is a resource of information provided for and discussed at the event. The information is based on what I’ve read in books like The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible, information I’ve garnered through lots of GardenWeb forum reading and from my own experiences. Enjoy!

Behold, the proud and mighty bean.

Seeds vs. Transplants

I like to use a combination of seeds and transplants. Some of the seeds I start indoors early in the season, others I sow directly into the soil. Hopefully the following information will help you decide what to do.

Sow seeds directly if…

  • The plant is difficult to transplant (like carrots or other root vegetables)
  • You don’t have adequate light available indoors
  • The growing season is already underway and you’re past danger of frost

Start seeds inside if…

  • You have adequate light to do so.
  • You want a head start on the growing season.
  • You need to save money and not purchase too many transplants.
  • You want more variety than you can find at garden shops (since they only have so many kinds of transplants).

Buy transplants if…

  • You only want one or two of a particular plant.
    • If you’re only going to use one or two seeds from a packet, then the cost of purchasing those as transplants might not be that much more.
  • You don’t have adequate light indoors to start your own plants from seed but want a head start on the growing season.
  • It’s late in the growing season and you don’t have time to start your own if you want to have a good crop, which means paying attention to how many days are left in the season and how many days til harvest the plant will take.

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