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Know How, Know More

Frugal or Smart Gardening?

Have you wondered the aisles of your local garden center and had that same rush of adrenaline you get while looking through seed catalogs in the winter? Walking through a greenhouse in the spring is like going to the grocery store hungry – bring a list!

If you are new to the vegetable gardening scene you may spend more money than necessary unless you do a little research or ask your fellow gardeners before hitting the greenhouse. What should you plant as a transplant and what should you plant as seeds? Seeds are significantly cheaper than transplants but what will provide you with the most success in your garden?

Cool season crops are tolerant of colder temperature however the seeds will germinate more quickly in warm soils (80°F). While some warm season crops can be seeded directly, you will have a jump start on your harvest if you either start the seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the average last frost or buy transplants.

Direct Seed
Leaf lettuces

Plant as transplants

*can be direct seeded in the summer to produce a fall crop

Although it is tempting to have an instant garden, some plants prefer to be planted directly where they will grow for the season. For example squash, cucumber, melons & corn are extremely intolerant of transplanting. If they are planted from transplants it should be done within the first two weeks after they have germinated.

In addition to happier plants, direct seeding can also be more cost effective. You can buy an entire seed packet of leafy greens that will yield numerous salads or you can buy one cell pack of transplants for the same cost that will yield a much smaller harvest and cost more.

Besides saving time, energy, and money, you also get the satisfaction of seeing those little seeds emerge from the soil adding a nice dose anticipation to your gardening experience!