Most vegetables are annuals, and most are started from seed. You don’t need to plant from seed, however. You can buy many types of vegetables already started as transplants. They are sold at the right size for planting in the garden. It’s easiest and quickest to buy transplants from the nursery. They cost more than seeds, however, and the variety available isn’t very wide.
Most gardeners start some plants from seed and buy a few ready to go into the ground. If you want only one tomato plant for a few salad tomatoes, there’s no need to buy a packet of 50 seeds. But if you’re planting a large garden, the cost of transplants can be quite high.
Also, if you browse through a vegetable seed catalog, you will see that you can choose from dozens of varieties of almost any vegetable you might care to grow. It might be fun to try blue potatoes this year, or you might like to experiment with an extra-early corn to see how early in the season you can harvest fresh corn. Unusual vegetables such as these are usually only available in seed form through the mail.
Vegetable seeds can be started indoors, then planted outside when they are large enough, or they can be started directly in the ground where they are to grow.
- Usually started indoors: Tomatoes, peppers, celery, cauliflower, head lettuce and eggplant
- May be started indoors: Broccoli and brussels sprouts
- Usually started outside, but can be started indoors if you wish: Beans, peas, most lettuce, and corn
- Root crops don’t transplant well and should be started in the ground