Seeds or Transplants?

Seeds or Transplants?

Vegetables and
Annual Flowers

Which seeds should you sow directly into the garden, and which do better if you plant them as seedlings -- either purchasing transplants or starting the seeds indoors yourself?

Some seeds are most successfully sown directly into the garden. These plants usually mature relatively quickly, or have delicate roots that are easily damaged during transplanting. Also, plants with taproots, such as carrots and beets, generally don’t transplant well so it’s best to start them from seed right in the garden too.

Other plants have long growing seasons, or must be planted outdoors in early spring so they mature before the hot weather arrives. These do best when set in the garden as transplants.

Method of planting Vegetables Flowers
Direct sow beans, beets, carrots, corn, lettuce, spinach, peas nasturtiums, sunflowers, zinnias
Plant transplants

broccoli, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes

impatiens, petunias, snapdragons
Either method

cucumbers, squash

cosmos, marigolds

We’ve covered some specifics; now let's step back and spend some time looking at what makes plants "tick." The more you understand about plants, the more you’ll be able to "hear" what they’re telling you, and respond appropriately to give them what they need.

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It's best to purchase greenhouse-grown petunia transplants (seedlings), rather than sowing the seeds directly into the garden. If you want to start your own petunias from seed, you'll need to grow them indoors for 12 weeks or so before transplanting them into the garden.


Gardening Basics
FAQ #3

Why is it that some plants, such as carrots and beets, form large taproots and others, like tomatoes, don’t?


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