Should you start your container vegetable garden with seeds or with plants? The answer depends on what you want to grow.
Should You Start Your Container Vegetable Garden with Seeds or Plants?
At this time of year, the garden centers are full of enticing plants. You’ll find tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, kale, lettuce, herbs…you name it, you can probably find plants waiting for you.
But along with plants are seeds – racks and racks of seeds. And sometimes you’ll see the same type of plant and seed available at the same time.
So which should you buy? What grows best in your container garden?
If you’re new to container vegetable gardening or indeed to gardening of any kind, it can be confusing to shop for supplies. Many new vegetable gardeners wonder whether they should spend their money on seeds or plants.
It really depends on what you want to grow.
First, you can start nearly all vegetables from seeds (or starter plants/roots). Some are trickier to start than others. Most gardeners, myself included, like to start most vegetable plants from seed because we can choose from among a huge list of varieties that you just can’t find at the store.
If you’re new to gardening, however, the easiest way to start your garden is to purchase starter plants at the garden center for certain plants.
Buy as plants:
- Herbs (all kinds)
Buy seeds and start plants directly from seeds:
- Sweet corn
- Collard greens
- Swiss chard
- Green beans
“Sets” is the term for roots of certain plants such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and garlic. It is easier to start these vegetables from the root portion, so the companies selling plants and seeds, called nurseries, bag groups of roots (sweet potatoes, asparagus, strawberries) or bulbs/starters (potatoes, onions, garlic). You plant them directly into the ground.
I know it’s confusing if you’re just starting out. When in doubt, ask at the garden center, or start with a plant. It’s almost always easier to start with a living plant than with seeds if you are new to gardening and especially for container gardening.
Good Plants for Your Container Vegetable Garden
The best plants for a container vegetable garden are the ones you will enjoy, and those that produce the best-tasting vegetables when fresh. Most people start with tomatoes, peppers, and sometimes herbs.
Do you have questions on container vegetable gardening? Leave your questions in the comments below and I will be happy to answer them.
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.