Seeds vs. Transplants for Vegetable Gardening

— Written By
en Español

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.

English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

When starting a vegetable garden, one of the first decisions is whether to plant seeds or transplants. This article will help you determine which is best for your situation.

Seeds are Cheaper

On a per-plant basis, direct seeding will almost always win out when it comes to cost. However, if you only need two or three plants then the cost savings may be minimal. Also, keep in mind that seeds have a limited shelf life. Buying enough to last for several years could end up being a waste of money, especially if not stored under optimum conditions.

Transplants are Faster

If April 20 is the recommended date to plant tomatoes, the gardener who uses transplants will get to harvest quicker than the gardener who plants seeds.

For Some Crops, Seeds are Preferable

In general crops with large seeds do very well when direct-seeded. In addition, most root crops are not very tolerant of transplanting. For the crops below, planting seeds is strongly preferred or almost mandatory.

  • Beans and peas
  • Corn
  • Cucurbits (vine crops) such as squash, melons, cucumbers
  • Root crops such as turnips, carrots and radishes

Speed of Germination Varies

Some crops are very slow to germinate (same link as above) which makes direct seeding more challenging. The slower the germination, the more opportunities for problems such as rotting or predation. Seeds also require uniformly moist soil to germinate, which can be difficult to maintain over a longer time period.

On the other hand, some crop seeds are so quick to germinate that there’s less advantage to spending the extra money on transplants. Those include lettuce, basil, kohlrabi, kale, and cabbage, for example.

In the end, for most crops it’s a matter of preference and many gardeners will use a combination of methods.