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Should-you-grow-from-seed-or-use-starter-plants GreenStalk Garden

Should You Grow From Seed or Use Starter Plants?

GreenStalk gardeners often ask us if they should start from seeds or starter plants. The truth is, there are benefits to both methods! Sometimes it depends on various factors, but don’t let that intimidate you. Relax and remember that there’s more than one way to garden. Some of the best gardeners have learned by experimenting and “playing” — that’s half the fun! We’ll walk you through each method and its pros and cons; then you can decide which is right for your garden.

Planting seeds in a GreenStalk

Benefits of starting from seeds

Know where your food comes from

Growing from seed is one of the only ways to know exactly where your food comes from. Assuming you purchase your seeds from a reputable company, you could control everything in your food supply chain from soil to fertilizer. When you purchase starter plants, you likely will not know where they came from, what kind of soil they were planted in, or even if they were grown organically. 

Have more options

Did you know that the produce available to you at the grocery store is not chosen based on taste or even health benefits? Transportation, supply, appearance, and cost are huge factors in what variety of produce is selected for resale at your local grocery store. You wouldn’t often find multiple varieties of kale, for example, at the grocery store. However, you could grow several varieties differing in taste and nutrition, right in your own GreenStalk Vertical Garden. You control what you grow, when, and how much. Seeds can help you achieve your goal of eating more fresh vegetables because you now have access to thousands of different vegetable varieties. You're no longer limited by what's in stock at your grocery store or what starter vegetable plants are in stock at your local garden center.

golden beets harvested

You can grow unusual varieties of produce — like this golden beet.

Save money

You can buy a packet of quality seeds for a few dollars but if you buy starter plants it could cost nearly double that for a single plant. This is a huge benefit when growing produce for savings on your grocery bill. It’s satisfying and rewarding to turn less than five dollars worth of seeds into hundreds of dollars of vegetables. Tip: to save even more money, consider swapping seeds with friends. If you aren’t using all 50+ seeds in your broccoli packet, trade with a friend for their spinach seeds!

Start with ease

If you're planting in a GreenStalk, it's easy to start your plants from seed. Just plant 2-5 seeds per pocket and follow the depth of planting instructions on the seed packet. It can be helpful to water the soil before planting so that way you don't displace the seed when watering. Until you see your plants coming up, you will need to mist each pocket. Make sure the area around the seed stays moist, not wet. Once you see sprouts coming up, begin watering from the top water reservoir.

Other factors

Plants started from seed have strong root systems that stay secure for the life of the plant, as opposed to plants that may be root-bound in a nursery pot. Additionally, some plants don’t transplant well. Root vegetables in particular do not like being moved. It’s best just to direct sow and let them stay put.

Shop GreenStalk seeds here!

purple carrots grown from startersRoot veggies grown from transplants can end up deformed. 

Benefits of starting from starter plants

Get a jump on the growing season

If you live in a climate with a short growing season but want to grow a plant that takes quite a while to germinate and get going, consider buying a starter plant. It is a huge benefit to be able to pick up a couple of tomato plants from your local garden center that may even have a couple of tomatoes growing rather than wait several weeks to achieve that same growth. If you are planting herbs or flowers, you may prefer to start with full, blooming plants as opposed to waiting weeks for growth.

planting starter plants in a GreenStalk

Start with confidence

If you are new to gardening, growing from seed can feel intimidating. You can plant a seed too deep or too shallow, displace the seeds when watering, plant too many, plant too few, or not provide enough light. If your seeds don’t germinate, you are weeks behind in your growing season. Additionally, when you grow from a starter plant, you can be sure of what the plant looks like. It can be hard to get an idea of what you’re growing from a picture on a seed packet.

Other factors

Perennials come back year after year. It might be worth it to you to invest once in a healthy starter plant, knowing it will last. Also, starter plants are stronger and can more easily withstand pests, diseases, and weather that can take out delicate new seedlings.

herbs in a GreenStalk
Perennial plants, like rosemary, can be enjoyed year after year.


It's worth repeating — there is more than one way to garden as long as you have a positive gardening experience and your plants are healthy. Fill your GreenStalk Vertical Garden with seeds, starter plants, or a combination of the two! 

How do you prefer to get started? For more information about growing in your specific climate, check out your local extension office. We’re here to help you grow — just email us at support@greenstalkgarden.com.

Happy gardening!


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