Starting Sage & Lavender Indoors – Gary Pilarchik
Do both! Seeds and transplants! Here’s why and when!
If you are late planting seeds, it’s off to the nursery for transplants!
Some plants just don’t come in six packs, like radish. Seeds it is.
Watching seeds sprout and seedlings unfurl and grow is divine! It’s a miracle! Many have just never done it and find, to their delight, how easy and inspiring it is! Seeds can be started indoors at home or right where you want them, in the garden!
- The beauty of seeds is you can select plants your nursery doesn’t carry!
- You can start them indoors 6 weeks earlier than you can plant seeds in the ground!
- If you planted it right in the ground, you have saved yourself the step of transplanting!
- Some plants just don’t like to be transplanted! Annuals, plants with large seeds, plants that require weathering, plants with fragile root systems and root crops – beets, carrots. Like snapdragons, nasturtiums, spinach, and peas.
- Root crops like carrots need depth. If their tap root comes in contact with the bottom of a container it will fork or bend. Better to sow directly in your soil.
- Plants that are quick to germinate, get up and get strong, are great to start from seed, like radishes, beans, peas, beets, and turnips.
- If you are growing a lot or in succession, seeds are the most inexpensive way to grow your garden. Save seeds from your best veggies, flowers and herbs each year and you won’t need to buy any more! Plus they will be adapted to you and your soil!
- Be prepared to thin your seedlings, which means pulling out a few plants so your crop is spaced apart enough. Beet seedlings need 2-4 inches apart, but the seed grows in fours, so each plant needs room to make a normal-sized beet. Crowded plants compete for light, water, and nutrients. Also, lack of airflow will encourage diseases. The pro here is those young tender seedlings are perfect in salads!
- Seedlings thinned from over-crowded areas may be moved to fill in bare spots.
- Growing seeds for transplants indoors are protected from the elements and garden pests while you can also control soil, moisture, fertility and heat.
- You can select only the strongest seedlings to transplant.
- All your plants are up when you plant them – no germination failures, empty spaces, no wondering, no replanting necessary, no lost time.
- If you complete the circle by continually keeping the seeds from open-pollinated plants in your garden, you’ll create a vegetable strain (AKA: landrace) that thrives in your particular environment.
- There is well deserved pride in growing your veggies from seed-to-plate!
- Seed germination in the ground isn’t guaranteed. You wait to find out and if it doesn’t start, you lose time, possibly it gets beyond the planting window and it was not a plant your nursery carries. Starting a few seeds indoors as backup is wise.
- The number of days to germinate in your garden could be very different than those given on a seed packet due to soil conditions, weather, whereas with a transplant, there’s no guessing.
- Extra tender care and time is needed as seedlings germinate and get going. Transplants are sure, up and ready! All you have to do is go get them…
- Seedlings need to be weeded so they aren’t overgrown.
- Sometimes seedlings need protection from birds, pests – especially slugs, and freezes or hot sun.
- Right watering must be done, you can’t miss.
- Tomatoes like moving air to development well, if starting indoors you may need a fan.
- Yes, there is a learning curve with seeds. Research is important so you can choose the best for your climate, soil and light conditions, the season – first and last frosts.
- You’ll need a seed germinating space. Regular shop lights are fine for germinating seeds, but there usually is an initial investment of some kind, like maybe that fan!
Super healthy homegrown Pepper seedlings at New Life on a Homestead
Oh it’s so much fun to select transplants! It gives you the option of trying new plants, varieties, sometimes getting another one if one has failed. While you are shopping, there are marvelous other gardening tools, amendments, flowers you can get! Who knows what you will come back with?! And you can plant in the garden the same day!
From the Nursery Pros:
- Nursery transplants take a whole lot less time! You just go get them.
- If you don’t have a place to grow seeds, transplants from the nursery are terrific. You can ask, they may be able to get special varieties you would like.
- Some plants are just plum hard to get started from seed. A transplant is perfect, thanks.
- Starts are especially perfect for beginning gardeners who would like to skip the part that includes vulnerable, infant plants. Starting and babying tiny plants may not be your cup of tea either! Let the experts do it!
- With transplants the seed is germinated, it’s showing vigor and chances for a successful garden are more likely from the outset. This is particularly important when you have a limited number of warm summer days or you are planting late!
- On average, transplants give you a SIX WEEKS jump start on the season, because they will mature sooner and give you an earlier harvest. Transplants give higher early yields, and, one gardener says, in the case of watermelons, give larger fruits.
- Transplants can give you a great boost with succession planting, which means planting the same thing several times per season to ensure continuous harvest. For great results with lettuce, for example, you can start your first succession via transplants, and then follow every 2-3 weeks with lettuce seeds sown directly into your garden.
- If your seeds have failed, you can get transplants at the nursery!
- Transplants can be more resistant to insect pests, because they are more mature and stronger when you first put them into your garden. Many insect pests, like slugs, just love teeny tiny seedlings. Put down Sluggo or something like it even before you transplant, but definitely at the same time you install your plants. An overnight slug fest can remove an entire plant!
- Planting transplants gives you immediate satisfaction. Who doesn’t love starting their garden and seeing all those baby plants?
- Buying transplants can be more cost effective, and provides you with a great way to support local farmers and garden centers.
- Conscientious local nurseries carry starts that are grown specifically for your area. So you don’t have to worry about planting a variety that doesn’t do well in your zone. Box stores are less likely to be region specific.
- Having strong, young plants gives you some leeway per correct planting times. Transplants can be put in the ground earlier than seeds can be planted! If you miss a planting window, go get transplants from the nursery and you are back on time!
From Your Nursery at Home Pros:
- Start 6 weeks before safe outdoor soil planting temps. Head start!
- Sow seeds indoors during cool weather, harden off, then move outdoors, when weather warms up, not before.
- Since the seedbed produces many more plants than needed, choose only the very best plants!
- Reduce loss. The disease and pest free, precise environment of indoor planting is more protected than seeds germinated and seedling growth in the ground.
- You can plant exactly as many as you need.
- You know they are organic all the way, seed and soil, feeds.
Importantly, if you are growing your own transplants indoors, harden them off well. Expose them to slightly cooler temps and some dryer conditions before putting them out. Most transplants have been raised in warm, favorable temperatures, spoiled with plenty of water. They may suffer transplant shock from suddenly changing those conditions. They may wilt or even die with cooler night temperatures, lots of temperature fluctuation, or drier conditions.
- Starts from the nursery are the most expensive way to plant a garden. Prices can vary drastically depending on where you shop.
- There is a carbon footprint. Yes, most do use plastic containers and you usually drive to the nursery.
- Your variety choices are limited to the plants the nursery or garden center selects from their grower, which may be local or not. Box stores often carry out of season veggies for your locality.
- You have to buy more than you need, they only come in four or six packs.
- The nursery runs out or doesn’t have as many as you need or the plants aren’t in good condition.
- Consider that transplants can introduce weeds, pests and diseases into your garden. Most producers of transplants are very careful about this, especially with respect to diseases, but it is not uncommon to get a little grass or other weed seed into your transplant pack now and then. Carefully check for pests, the undersides of leaves.
- Transplants you start yourself are time and labor intensive, and sometimes the whole batch fails. For more assurance, plant backup seeds every few days. If you end up with too many, share them with other gardeners who will be so grateful!
Veggies easy to direct seed – that’s right in the ground!
- Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi
- Melons, Watermelon
- Root crops – beets, carrots, garlic, onion, radish, turnips
- Tomato grows rampantly from seed!
Veggies to transplant or start in trays or get at the nursery!
- Tomatoes are fun to get at the nursery because there are often so many exotic varieties! In Santa Barbara, that nursery is La Sumida!
Know that different gardeners do better with one plant than another! Their peppers always do well, they never get eggplant! Their onions never get big, but they get super big juicy celery stalks!
Garden Magic! Self-sowers & Volunteers
I have a soft spot for volunteers! I love the variety, surprises the birds bring already fertilized and ready to grow! Plants that self seed are a gift! They know where to grow and come up at the perfect time. Let your plants live out their life cycle, make flowers for the bees, butterflies and beneficial insects, seeds for the birds, before cleaning up. Leave a few of your very best tomatoes and cucumbers to decompose in the garden. Let sunflowers, calendula, violas and other annuals drop their seeds and make pretty next year. These plants will have natural vigor. Transplant them to your convenience if you must, but let them grow as they naturally are whenever possible.
Experienced gardeners do a little seed planting in the ground, some grow their own transplants indoors, and at times buy transplants for various reasons! Maybe the nursery got a new plant and you gotta try it!
See the entire February Newsletter! (Sign up for it if you like!)
February – Final Plans, Preps, 1st Spring Plantings!
Calendula ~ Edible, Medicinal, Good for Your Garden, Easy to Grow!
January, February Seeds or Transplants, Pros & Cons
Other Community Gardens – Virginia Avenue Community Garden, Washington DC
Events! CEC EARTH DAY Celebration 2017!
The Green Bean Connection started as correspondence for SoCal Santa Barbara CA USA Pilgrim Terrace Community Garden. All three of Santa Barbara’s community gardens are very coastal. During late spring/summer we are often in a fog belt/marine layer most years, locally referred to as the May grays, June glooms and August fogusts. Keep that in mind compared to the microclimate niche where your veggie garden is. Bless you for being such a wonderful Earth Steward!
Love your Mother! Plant bird & bee food! Think grey water! Grow organic!