Transplants are a great time-saver for gardeners. When they don’t perform well, it’s usually because the gardener doesn’t fully understand how to handle transplants or is doing something wrong along the way.
Why Use Transplants? Gardeners use transplants for different reasons:
- The most important reason they give is the head start transplants offer to the growing season. Transplants offer instant color with annual bedding plants like marigolds, petunias, impatiens, geraniums, and coleus. Of course, no tomato-lover would even consider direct sowing of tomatoes in the garden, since transplanted tomatoes yield fruit roughly two months sooner than directly sown tomatoes.
- Another big plus for using transplants is that they allow for economical use of space in the garden. Because transplants are started outside your garden, plenty of garden space is available for direct seeding of fast-producing early crops. After the harvest of early crops, like peas, radishes, spinach, chard, and lettuce, you can fill in the garden space with transplants.
- A third advantage of using transplants is the need for fewer seeds. Rates of seed germination are better indoors under controlled conditions, therefore fewer seeds are lost to the elements. Spacing becomes easier in the garden with transplants as opposed to seeds, because you can see just how much room each plant will need. With transplants there is no need for thinning, again due to more accurate spacing from the start. Seed packages seem to stretch further.
- You can also use transplants throughout the season as reserves. As you harvest your crops, you can replace the old plants with new plants from your ongoing transplant nursery to fill the holes. Direct seeding during the hot, dry days of summer can be difficult, because the seeds need moisture and controlled warmth to germinate properly. On the other hand, transplant production can be a breeze at that time.
- Last but not least, another transplant plus is the significant advantage they offer in the fight against insects, disease, and unfavorable weather. The development of a plant from germination through seedling is a critical time. You must closely watch temperature and moisture conditions, and insects plus disease can knock out young seedlings very quickly. While you can control these problems outdoors in gardens to some degree, producing transplants indoors borders on luxury conditions. Each resulting vigorous transplant will have bypassed early problems and will now be at a stage and time where outdoor garden conditions will pose much less hazard.