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How to Choose the Best Vegetable Transplants for Your Garden

Growing your own vegetable garden is a great way to live a greener (no pun intended) lifestyle by cultivating your own food, preparing these delicious, nutritious edibles in recipes and saving you from extra trips to the grocery store.

lettuce seedlings

Many gardeners are faced with two choices when deciding to grow not only vegetables but any plant in the garden: you could start from seed (click here for an article on when to start seeds); or you could purchase a young plant from a local nursery or garden center and transplant it into your yard.

If choice number two sounds like the best option for you, the most important thing to consider is proper selection. When choosing vegetable starts, or transplants, for your garden, you want to pick young, stocky plants, rather than large plants and/or ones that have flowered/bared fruit. This is important because if the plant is too mature or has already bloomed, your yield may be limited or poor compared to a young plant that has yet to flower. You also want to select varieties with lots of leaves and strong, healthy roots—usually they will be white in color if you gently slide the plant from its container. The top growth should be in good proportion to the container.

Other tips for selecting the best vegetable plants:
Conditions: Make sure to pick vegetables that will flourish with your climate and site conditions. Ask local nursery/garden center for recommended or familiar options.
Disease resistant: Choose varieties that are tolerant to most major plant diseases. You can also, depending on your wants/needs, pick selections that are drought tolerant, deer tolerant, heat tolerant, etc.
Season length: For higher yield, choose plants that have a quick harvesting time to get the most out of your area’s growing season. You might choose cut-and-come-again crops to get the most out of your chosen plants.

With the right selections, good patience and lots of love, you can grow the thriving vegetable garden of your dreams.

Image: Terri Miller
Learn how to grow a lush, thriving vegetable garden with the Start Planning Your Vegetable Garden Value Pack.

How to Grow More Vegetables is the go-to reference for food growers at any level.

Discover how to keep your vegetables healthy with What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Garden?

With The Everything Grow Your Own Vegetables Book you can learn how to properly plant, tend and harvest your own vegetables.

Create your own scrumptious salads by planting the Gourmet Salads Collection.