Starting a Vegetable Garden: Should you Choose Seeds or Starts?

Can’t decide whether you should choose seeds or starts for your vegetable garden? No worries, just go through this checklist and know about the option which suits you best!

Spring is only a few weeks away from now, so we should start making a proper strategy about how we are going to benefit the most from that growing season. For example, if you don’t have a dense and thick garden, plan to reseed and add new plants. And if you don’t have a garden at all in your house, plan to establish one in the upcoming year.

And when it comes to the garden, the vegetable garden is top of the list since it yields edible, cost lesser, and requires not-so-professional maintenance. Moreover, almost all the plants in vegetable gardens possess a shorter life cycle, as a result of which, you get produce after every four to six weeks.

However, the question which confused most of the newbie gardeners is whether they should choose seeds or starts for their yard? If you are also standing at this crossroad, then here we’ve enlisted the pros and cons of each option so you could decide well about the path you should go with.

Starting a Vegetable Garden: Should you Choose Seeds or Starts?

Starting a vegetable garden with seeds

Why should you choose seeds?

Starting from seeds comes with a lot of advantages, challenges, and fun. However, the main reasons why you should start your veggies from seeds are as follows


Seeds are much more cost-effective than seedlings since the vendors don’t have to spend their bucks to make the seeds germinate. All they do is collect the seeds, throw them in packets and deliver them to you.

Similarly, if you have a huge garden, it would cost you thousands of dollars to purchase multiple transplants. In such circumstances, the only budget-friendly option is to buy seeds and grow your vegetables from scratch.

You might be surprised to know but you can also get the vegetable seeds for free. Some many businesses and brands offer launch giveaways or conduct promotional events. If you partake in such activities, you might collect plenty of seeds to stuff your garden fully.

Besides businesses, you can get your free seeds from seed libraries, local gardens, even churches. Such organisations deliver free seeds to gardeners to boost the passion for gardening in youth and also to support them financially.

And if you are going to start a vegetable garden from scratch, you, understandably, have to buy other essential equipment as well, like containers, artificial grow lights, fertilisers, soil mix, etc. In this case, nothing would be more alluring than getting something free or for a few pennies.

 Wide variety 

While comparing the available varieties of seeds and starts, you’ll notice the seeds winning the competition. Seeds are relatively easier to purchase and access than transplants since you can even order them from another country.

Some online businesses are working in this respect and on surfing through their websites and catalogues, you’ll see a huge variety of seeds they are stocking to sell. Not only do they have seeds of different vegetables but you can also get seeds of different types of tomatoes, potatoes, and many other veggies.

On the other hand, while getting started from your local nursery or garden, you have only limited options. Even the most popular nurseries stock only 10-12 varieties at a time. So, if you want to see different rare and global veggies flourishing in your vegetable garden, starting them from seeds is most favourable.

 Better health and quality 

When you buy seeds to start your vegetable garden, you maintain the best growing conditions from the very first point. In this way, you can get the desirable quality of the products. On the other hand, since seedlings are nurtured and spruced in a different environment, you can’t predict what your end product will look like.

Even if a transplant has been grown in the best environment, odds are it might lose its sturdiness and resilience while shifting from pot to garden bed. This condition is common to occur when gardeners adopt unsuitable hardening-off techniques.

On the other hand, starting a vegetable plant from seed means you can let the seed sprout and grow within the same land. As it discards the need for changing location and environment, the plant keeps on growing with the same strength, flexibility, and longevity.

Lastly, the transplant may or may not contain bugs and pathogens which can be transmitted from them to the other plants of your harvest. Eventually, your entire crop can be ruined. Whereas, when you buy seeds, you know that you are not introducing any sorts of pathogen risks to your garden which, in turn, saves you from unwanted nuisance in the long run.

 Better control on everything 

Transplants need to plant into the soil during the earlier summer since they tend to get mature sooner than the seeds. In this way, you can’t customise your harvest to get freshly-grown veggies all around the year.

On the other hand, while starting from seeds, you can begin much sooner by growing seeds indoors (even before the spring) and controlling the growing conditions like temperature, moisture, etc. accordingly. In this way, you can decide when you want your plant to deliver the product and when you want it to stay dormant. In a nutshell, starting from seeds gives you the liberty to decide what you want and when you want it.

Why should you start from starts/transplants?

By now, you’ve got an idea about why you should start your vegetable garden from seeds. Because it not only saves you money but also imparts better control and wide selection. However, there are still some aspects that make the option of purchasing transplants more favourable such as the following.

 No worries about germinate rate  

While buying seeds, you’ve to do proper research so you can find the best quality and freshest seeds with the highest germination rate. Remember that not all the seeds tend to sprout out and that’s the reason why gardeners suggest burying 3-4 seeds in a pot, simultaneously, so that at least one of them would germinate.

In this way, you always have to buy more seeds to compensate for the loss. On the other hand, while purchasing transplants, you don’t have to worry about whether they will germinate or not. All you have to consider is its growing conditions and hardening-off techniques.

 Deliver yield sooner 

While starting with seeds, you have to wait for three to four long months for your seeds to germinate, grow, and deliver the end product. On the other hand, since transplants have already been passed through the time-consuming phase of germination, they mature earlier and deliver products quicker.

This is specifically helpful when you are aiming for long-season plants or couldn’t bury the seeds in springs. Just purchase the seedlings and plant them anytime from early to late summer and get your favourite veggies within weeks.

 Establish a global vegetable garden 

Not all the seeds can germinate in your soil and even if you get a potting mix or high-grade soil, chances are your climate might not support the seed germination. In this case, if you want to grow a global garden where all types of veggies are thriving, you need to get the already-grown seedlings.

Transplants also come with low maintenance needs which saves you from babying the seeds and delicate seedlings. After buying the seedlings of rare vegetable plants, you just have to adjust the temperature and watering conditions with the help of a good irrigation system, temperature controllers, and artificial lights. Eventually, the plants will keep on flourishing and producing yields at the original pace.

 Effortless purchase 

To start your vegetable garden with seeds, you have to purchase the seeds long before the spring. For this, you need to start searching for the best seed vendors and resources which can not only provide premium quality seeds but also sell them at reasonable rates.

After getting the seeds, you also have to preserve them, using the right methods so they won’t deteriorate till the growing season.

On the other hand, purchasing transplants don’t come with this much hassle. You just have to visit your local nursery, select the plant, pay the bill, and that’s it. There’s also no need to buy seedlings way before spring and you can get them whenever you are ready.

Similarly, while buying seeds, you have to collect information about the seeds that are compatible with your region and climate. Whereas, all the transplants, which your local nurseries stock are those which grow appropriately within your climate conditions.

Final verdict

Both the options of starting a vegetable garden from seeds and starts come with their own sets of pros and cons. Which option would suit you best depends upon what’s the thing you are ready to sacrifice or what’s the thing you are preferring the most.

To me, both the options are equally beneficial and serve in several ways so you better give a chance to both. As a general rule of thumb, while starting from seeds, choose an easy and short-seasoned plant. However, while trying transplants, you better go with long seasoned plants but get those that suit your weather conditions and region the most.