Seeds or Sprouts?

Jun 27, 2011

Have you ever wondered where you should start, seeds or sprouts?

When you turn your mind to gardening, you may be considering this popular gardening predicament: should you start from seeds or sprouts?

When you turn your mind to gardening, you may be considering this popular gardening predicament: should you start from seeds or sprouts? While you’ll find veteran gardeners with strong opinions on both sides of the debate, the truth is that there’s no right or wrong answer. There are, however, a few significant considerations.

To start, if you’re planting root vegetables such as carrots, radishes or beets, you’ll need to start from seed. Starting from a seed allows for proper growth; otherwise, these types of vegetables deform during the transplant. That’s why you’ll almost never find these plants available as sprouts, and peas can be very hard to find as well.

There are two primary benefits to starting your garden from seed. First, sprouts can be significantly more expensive and if your ambitions are large but your budget is not, you’ll definitely want to start from seeds. Secondly, seeding allows a gardener to get ahead of the season, even up to a month. It can be somewhat of an art form, but nothing too overwhelming. To help, here are a few useful tips on planting seeds.

You’ll need a space with adequate light (twelve hours or more of winter light per day). Egg containers can provide a cheap seeding bed, but make sure you use a soil-less potting mix and that you label each bed. Believe us, it’s easy to forget which is which once they sprout. If you use egg containers, you’ll want to cover them with plastic wrap.

You’ll also want to make sure that your hotbed stays warm, and that you can control moisture so the seeds aren’t overly damp, as they can mold, or too dry to germinate. For smaller seeds you can sprinkle a few on top of the potting mix, and for larger ones you’ll want to count them out and bury them slightly. Use up to three larger seeds at a time, since not all will germinate. A good rule of thumb is that the smaller the seed, the less soil it will need for a covering. For example, lettuce seeds require no cover at all.

Whether you begin with seeds or seedlings, nothing is more satisfying than seeing neat, green rows in a garden. We hope these tips will help your garden grow!