Seeds or Transplants?

Many gardeners become confused about whether vegetables should be planted from seed or transplants. Transplants insure a reliable plant population and usually produce earlier than crops planted from seed. The main disadvantage of transplants is the cost per plant.

Because of cost, only certain vegetable crops should be transplanted. Consider: (1) the cost of seed,
(2) the plant population needed,
(3) the earliness of desired crop maturity, and
(4) convenience.
Vegetables which should always be transplanted in spring include eggplant, onions (bulb), pepper, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Vegetables which can be seeded into the garden in early spring or transplanted a little later include broccoli, collards, cabbage, lettuce and cauliflower. Seed all other vegetables directly into the garden area because transplants are not economical. Timing and varietal selection determine the success or failure of directly-seeded crops and transplanted vegetables.

Success in seeding vegetable crops depends on factors such as seed vigor, soil moisture, planting technique and soil fertility. Use new, viable seed to insure a good plant population. Seeds need to absorb moisture before growth can begin. During dry weather, water several days before planting the seed.

When planting, do not cover the seed with too much soil. A general rule of thumb is to cover seed approximately 2 to 3 times their widest measurement. Seed thickly with the intention of thinning to an optimum stand later.¶