to transplant or not to transplant – a basic guide to direct and non-direct sow vegetable seeds

The sky is a gorgeous blue today.  The sun is shining.  It would be a perfect day in the garden if not for the fact that is is 32F/0C here in Berlin.  

Still, with it being the middle of January, it is time start thinking about the upcoming growing season.  This is especially true as I am starting my own small horticultural business.  I am getting my ducks in an order (hopefully they quack).  One of the first steps in this process is figuring out which seeds/plants that I already have, which ones can be sold and which ones that it just is not worth it for.  Certain types of plants are simply not meant to be transplanted.  It is too much stress.  I can totally relate as an expat.

Here is a basic list of how vegetable seeds should be prepared for the growing season –

Direct Sow Seeds
These plants should be planted directly in the soil unless you happen to be using mini soil blockers/germination trays for germination.  This is primarily due to the fact that the roots are extremely sensitive and will not tolerate stress.  These types of plants are not a practical to sell.  

  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Beets
  • Turnips
  • Parsnips
  • Zucchini [if absolutely necessary, the plants can be started in large peat pots, but the plants really do not like having their roots disturbed]
  • Cucumber [see zucchini]
  • Corn
corn 29 april 2015 (1)
Directly sown corn seeds

Seeds to Start Indoors
These plant varieties need a longer period time to get ready for the great outdoors.  Some of them also require very warm temperatures for germination.  While these varieties require more space and energy, they are well-suited for sale.  

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Cabbage
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Onions [sets are also an option]
broccoli bed 28 april 2015
Broccoli seedlings that benefit from some light garden fabric to protect from frost 

It’s Up to You:
Make an informed decision based on available space, light and the length of your growing season. These plants may or may not be suited for sale.

  • Greens: lettuce, kale, spinach, chard, etc. [I personally have zero luck with starting greens inside, but they are supposed to be super easy to start indoors]
  • Squash: winter
lettuce bed 8 may 2015
Directly sown spinach, lettuce and onion plants protected by garden fabric for an early start to the growing season

These are, of course, just general suggestions.  If you live closer the equator where it is always warm and sunny, almost everything be directly sown without an issue. Contrastingly, if you live in in the Alaska, it is wise to try to start as much as possible indoors as the growing season is very short.

Stay tuned for more exciting gardening tips.

Happy planting!


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