Vegetable Starts Buying Guide: Everything you need to know
Welcome to the vegetable starts buying guide. Whether you are a beginner looking for tips on how to get started, or an experienced gardener interested in learning more about seed starting techniques, this guide can help you understand the basics of getting your garden off to a great start!
Vegetable starts are small plants that have been grown from seeds indoors and then transplanted into an outdoor garden. Starting from vegetable starts is a great way to give your garden an early advantage by providing it with healthy, vigorous plants that can handle environmental stresses better than those grown from direct-seeded seeds.
In this vegetable starts buying guide we will cover all aspects of selecting, purchasing and planting vegetable starts for success in your garden. We’ll look at the different types of vegetable starts, their benefits and how to choose the best ones. We’ll cover when to start your plants, how to care for them before transplanting, and how to safely move them into your garden.
What are vegetable starts?
Vegetable starts are small plants that have been grown from seeds indoors and then transplanted into an outdoor garden. They are generally ready-to-plant seedlings that have already gone through the initial growing stages in a controlled environment such as a greenhouse or indoor space, which results in vigorous young plants with better chances of success once they are placed in the ground outside. Vegetable starts can be purchased from nurseries or online retailers, and are usually sold as single units or in larger quantities.
What are the benefits of buying vegetable starts?
Buying vegetable starts provides many advantages to gardeners that starting from seeds does not. For example, they provide a head start on the growing process since they have already gone through their initial stages indoors, allowing you to get a jumpstart on your season even if you’re starting late. They also provide higher chances of success with less risk of disease and pests since they have been grown in a controlled environment. Finally, by purchasing vegetable starts you can choose specific varieties of plants that may be difficult or impossible to grow from seed.
How do I choose the best vegetable starts for my garden?
When choosing vegetable starts, it’s important to look for healthy plants that are free of disease and pests. Check the leaves and stems for signs of mildew or discoloration, as well as any holes or spots that could indicate insects. Make sure to check the roots too – they should be white in color and appear moist but not soggy. It’s also important to consider the size of the plants: if they are too large they may have trouble adjusting to their new environment; if they are too small, they may not produce a sufficient yield.
When is the best time to buy vegetable starts?
The timing of when you purchase your vegetable starts will depend on what types of plants you’re looking to grow and the climate in your area. Generally, it is best to purchase them as soon as possible after they become available so that you can get the most out of their growing season. In areas with cold winters, vegetable starts should be purchased in the spring when temperatures start to warm up; in warmer climates, fall is usually a better time for planting.
How do I care for vegetable starts before transplanting?
Once your vegetable starts arrive, it’s important to give them special care to ensure they are healthy and vigorous by the time they go into your garden. Start by giving them plenty of light – either indoors or outdoors – as this will help promote strong root growth. Make sure to water them regularly but not excessively so that their soil stays moist; if the root ball becomes too dry, it will be more difficult for the plant to adjust when transplanted. Fertilizing lightly once or twice during this period can also help promote healthy growth.
How do I safely move my vegetable starts into the garden?
Transplanting your vegetable starts can be a tricky process, and requires careful timing and preparation. Make sure to plan ahead and choose an ideal day with mild temperatures and no rain in the forecast, as extreme weather conditions can damage or even kill young plants. When transplanting, make sure to keep roots damp by wrapping them in a wet cloth while moving them from place to place; avoid jarring or jostling the plants, as this can cause damage to their delicate root systems. Make sure to dig a hole large enough in the garden bed to accommodate their roots and then fill it up with soil; gently tamp down and water thoroughly once transplanted.
How often should I water my vegetable starts once they’re in the ground?
When it comes to watering your newly-planted vegetable starts, it is important to give them a thorough soaking at least twice a week. In areas with extreme heat, you may need to increase this frequency; similarly, if rainfall is abundant you may be able to reduce how much you water from time to time. It’s also important to check the soil around the plants to make sure it’s not too wet or dry – if it is, adjust your watering accordingly. Finally, avoid getting water on the leaves of the plant as this can cause them to rot or become diseased.
What type of fertilizer should I use for my vegetable starts?
Fertilizing your vegetable starts can help promote healthy and vigorous growth. Start by using a balanced fertilizer that is low in nitrogen but high in phosphorus and potassium; these nutrients will help strengthen root systems, increase blooming and fruiting, and improve overall health of the plants once they are established. If possible, opt for organic fertilizers as these are less likely to burn delicate foliage; alternatively, you can also try making your own compost or using liquid fertilizers.
How often should I fertilize my vegetable starts?
It is generally best to wait until the plants are well-established in the garden before you begin fertilizing; this will help prevent root burn which can occur if fertilizer is applied too early. Once established, most vegetables only require fertilizer once every two weeks or so; however, it’s important to check the soil around your plants regularly and adjust as needed depending on what type of plant you’re growing and the fertility of your specific environment.
When should I harvest my vegetable starts?
The timing of when you should harvest your vegetable starts will depend on what types of plants you are growing. Generally, it’s best to wait until the fruits or vegetables are fully ripe and then pick them off the plants as soon as possible – this will ensure that they have maximum flavor and nutrition. Otherwise, look for signs of ripeness specific to each plant variety such as color, size, texture, and smell. For example, tomatoes should be allowed to turn red before harvesting while beans should be picked when still young and tender.
Growing vegetable starts is a rewarding process that requires careful care and attention at every stage; from choosing varieties that suit your space and climate, to preparing the soil properly in advance of planting, all the way through to providing adequate light, water and fertilizer throughout their growth period. Following these steps will ensure that your vegetable starts are happy and healthy, providing you with delicious and nutritious food all season long.