Seedling or seeds? Which is the best choice for your garden? It’s certainly easier to plant a vegetable garden by buying little plants and placing them gently into rich soil with your own green thumbs. Some seeds require planting in a protected place and transplanting and thinning. Some seeds are more trouble than others. The seeds that are super small or those that take months to mature from seed call for a gardener with a lot of patience. Choosing to use some seed in your garden will most likely add quite a bit more variety to what you have in your plot.
Most gardeners choose to buy plants like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant rather than plant from seed. When it comes to the decision of seeding or seedling, there are two basic questions: Does the vegetable transplant well, and is your growing season long enough for the vegetables to mature when planted from seed?
For example, tomatoes need four or five month to mature from seed, which is certainly not a problem in our part of the world. If you begin your garden late in the season, you may need to choose little plants and try seeds next season. Root plants with taproots don’t usually transplant well so need to be seeded directly into the soil. Quick growing plants like peas and squash are great when just seeded directly into that rich dirt in your garden.
The seed package gives you most of the information you need. Just read the information on the back to learn whether to direct seed or give the seed a head start.
Vegetables that are usually directly seeded are beans, beets, carrots, corn, cucumbers, garlic, lettuce, micro greens, okra, peas, pumpkins, radishes, squash turnips and watermelons.
There are a handful of vegetables that aren’t usually grown from seed at all. Grown “vegetatively” are artichokes, asparagus, garlic, onions, potatoes, rhubarb and sweet potatoes. Vegetables that transplant well are basil, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage cauliflower, celery, chives, collards, eggplant, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, mustard, okra, onions, parsley, peppers and tomatoes.
So your choices are direct seeding, seed starting or purchased plants. No matter which choice or combinations you make, it is important to plant as early as possible. Your wonderful vegetables will have a long season to mature without fighting the late summer heat. Weeks and weeks of homegrown tomatoes and peppers and all things fresh are our reward!