Seedlings vs Seeds - Knowledgebase Question

Fairfield, Ne
Question by vette184
May 7, 2010
I usually plant seeds, starting in my Burpee Greenhouse, then transplanted into the ground. Typically, I don't have the best success rate and anyone who plants seedlings gets a big headstart. So far, my seeds have only done so-so in transplanting to the Peet Pots (before putting into the ground). Seedlings are more expensive as though. What do you think is the best way to go?

Answer from NGA
May 7, 2010


It's a difficult choice to make. The least expensive way to go is to direct sow seeds in the garden, followed by starting seeds indoors and then by purchasing transplants at the garden center. If you're not having much success with your seedlings, you may want to rethink your method of seed starting. While the greenhouse is a good product to get those seeds germinated, once they have sprouted they will need supplemental lighting in order to grow hale and hardy. Hooded shop lights - the ones with chains attached to the hood and two fluorescent bulbs - are reasonably priced and last for years and years. If you suspend a shoplight over your trays or pots of seedlings and keep the lights on 12-14 hours a day and only 2-3 inches above the tops of the seedlings, your seedlings will grow thick and sturdy. Training an oscillating fan near the seedlings will not only help circulate the air to keep diseases at bay, it will also serve to make the seedlings grow a sturdier root system (they'll think it's windy and they have to hold on or be blown away). When your seedlings grow taller, just move the light up. As long as the bulbs are only 2-3 inches from the tops of the plants, they'll be happy. Hope this information helps you grow healthy seedlings.

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