There are advantages and disadvantages to gardening with seeds, as well as advantages and disadvantages to gardening with plants. Seeds are very inexpensive, so it is possible to experiment with some plants that may not be favorites without investing a great deal of money. In many areas, seeds are available in more varieties than plants, which increases your selection. Plants are generally well started and hardier than seeds. While each plant may cost more than a packet of seeds, the plant will probably survive in your garden. Fortunately, you don't have to choose between plants and seeds, you can garden with both.
Decide what plants and seeds you want to grow. Everyone has different ideas about what he want his garden to contain. Some plants, such as tomatoes, are widely available already started, while other plants, such as lettuce, are most commonly available as seeds. Other plants, like cucumbers, are available as both seeds and plants. Choosing a plant may allow you to harvest vegetables a few weeks earlier than if you plant directly into the soil.
Draw a garden layout before you begin planting. It is important to take into consideration the adult size of each plant. For instance, if you plant a row of corn seeds, it is important to realize that in a few short months, everything planted in the next rows over will be in the shade for much of the day. Sun loving plants need their own spots, away from plants that will grow tall and overshadow them. Likewise, cool weather plants, such as lettuce and broccoli, won't mind a little shade during the heat of the summer. This is a time when many varieties of cool season vegetables stop producing entirely.
Plant your plants before putting your seeds in the ground, to prevent compacting the soil over the seeds. Once you plant your seeds, you don't want to step on the soil covering them, as the soil compacts, making it difficult for the seedling to emerge from the soil and for the roots to expand underground. Put your plants in the ground first and apply mulch around them so you will not need to spend much time in the garden weeding. After you plant your seeds, venture into the area only for maintenance, such as weeding and watering, until the seedlings emerge and start to take on a hardy appearance.
Remember that seeds may need extra watering to encourage germination. Even if your garden is receiving enough rain to keep your plants looking good, it may need supplemental water for the seedlings to germinate. Keep the soil over the seeds damp, don't let it dry out entirely.
Keep watch that your plants do not provide too much shade for your young seedlings. As your garden grows, keep an eye on your plants to ensure they look healthy. Dark green leaves, sturdy stems and blooms and the formation of vegetables are all signs of a healthy plant. Lack of sunlight can lead to weak, spindly growth and failure to set flowers. It may be necessary to transplant some of your seedlings if they are not getting enough sunlight.