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Plants to Transplant and Direct Sow in the Home Garden

Grow an amazing and abundant garden by learning which plants you can transplant and direct sow! 

A Cabbage Plant in the Garden

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For years I never really had a “garden system.” I have always grown a garden but I didn’t really care if I planted exactly on time or did everything exactly right.

I just loved having a garden and as long as I had some vegetables planted I was happy.

But over the years I have perfected certain areas. I try to do most everything the “right” way so my garden can be as successful as possible.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t fail or that I am not still constantly learning. I really believe that gardening takes years to master but you can still have success with no experience which is the great part.

Something that I have been working on lately is getting my own seeds started early enough so that I can plant transplants on time and then direct seed later on.

And unfortunately it is tougher than I imagined…

Around January I was fully prepared, I had all planting dates wrote down and seeds ordered. But now it’s March and the only seeds I really started on time were my tomatoes and peppers.

Which doesn’t mean that I can’t still direct sow many of those seeds, I just won’t have already started transplants like I had hoped.

But on the bright side if you’d like to also learn how to start your own tomatoes you can check out here How to Grow Tomatoes in Pots from Seed.

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Plants to Both Transplant and Direct Sow

  1. Basil
  2. Beans, snap
  3. Bok Choy
  4. Broccoli
  5. Brussels Sprouts
  6. Cabbage
  7. Cauliflower
  8. Chard, Swiss
  9. Collards
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Dill
  12. Endive
  13. Fennel, Bulbing
  14. Kale
  15.  Kohlrabi
  16. Leeks
  17. Lettuce, Heads
  18. Melon, Cantaloupe, Honeydew
  19. Mustard Greens
  20. Okra
  21. Parsley
  22. Peas, Snap
  23. Scallions
  24. Spinach
  25. Squash
  26. Pumpkins
  27. Tomatillos
  28. Watermelon

How to Transplant and Direct Sow the Same Crop

The point of using both practices is to lengthen your growing season and take advantage of succession planting.

With each of these crops you can start your own seeds early on and so that as soon as the weather is permitting you can plant the transplants out into your garden.

You can also buy already started transplants and plant them in the garden early on in the growing season. Then as weather is permitting for each crop you can direct sow your seeds.

Many growing zones don’t get warm soon enough to only direct seed crops and so planting transplants definitely comes in handy.

In fact, some crops are long season crops and so if they are started by seed they actually may not mature in time for a good harvest.

The important thing is to know your growing season and when each crop should be started to be successful in your area. If you’d like to find your zone and see when each crop should be planted fill in the form below and a free pdf will be sent right over to you!

Plants That Should Only Be Transplanted

  1. Celeriac
  2. Celery
  3. Eggplant
  4. Peppers
  5. Sweet Potatoes
  6. Tomatoes
  7. Artichokes
  8. Asparagus
  9. Rhubarb

These plants do not do well when planted directly into the garden from seed. While it can be done it isn’t recommended.

A benefit of transplanting each of those crops above is that they all tolerate root disturbance. Meaning that if you have two or more plants growing in the same container you can carefully separate them at the roots and plant them all.

On the other hand there are also crops that should never be purchased as transplants and should only be direct seeded. To see which crops to direct sow, check out my post 11 Plants That Are Best to Direct Sow.

Then there are the plants that can be both transplanted and sowed by seed. But even though some of those plants listed can both be transplanted and direct sowed, some of them do not tolerate root disturbance.

So being extra careful during transplant is super important.

Transplants That Don’t Tolerate Root Disturbance

  1. Beans (lima)
  2. Beans (snap)
  3. Corn, sweet
  4. Cucumbers
  5. Dill
  6. Melons, Cantaloupe, Honeydew
  7. Peas (shelling)
  8. Peas (snap)
  9. Squash
  10. Pumpkins
  11. Watermelon

So as you are transplanting each of these plants be extra careful while handling them.

Unlike the plants that don’t mind root disturbance where you can easily take two plants from the same container and plant separately.

If you have a container with two or more plants growing in it that is within the category of not liking root disturbance, you should use scissors to snip off the extra plants to avoid disturbing the roots.

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How to Transplant

The first thing is be gentle. Carefully transplanting transplants will result in healthy, happy plants.

If you transplant under stressful conditions your plant may go into transplant shock which may result in wilted plants, stunted growth, and a reduced yield.

Prepare Your Garden Bed

Prior to planting be sure that your garden beds are worked up. You can do this either by using a rototiller (amazon) which is what I do, or working up by hand if your soil isn’t too hard and doesn’t have big clumps in it.

Another reason why I also like using the rototiller before each planting is first because it works the soil so nice, but I also add compost into my soil each year and so the rototiller mixes it in perfectly.

After your soil is worked up nicely you should pre-dig holes at the all the right spacing for each plant. Then as soon as you remove them from their containers they are ready to be planted.

Plan With the Weather

The best conditions for transplanting are overcast skies, cooler temperatures, and even a light rain.

These conditions will minimize water loss in plant leaves and the moisture in your soil will hold up better, reducing root damage and encouraging new growth.

Overall your plants will just do better and be healthier if it’s possible to plant under these conditions.

Although I know it’s not always possible to work with the weather, if it was it would be awesome though!

So if there aren’t any cool overcast days in the forecast save your transplanting for early mornings or evenings and make sure to water the soil well before transplanting and again after.

Water Well

You should water your transplants as soon as possible. There is no need to wait.

Watering your plants settles the soil around the roots and protects them.

Have a Great Garden Season

If there’s anything more you’d like to know about direct seeding and transplanting I’d love to hear from you.

I really love my garden and I often wish I could just spend all day long out there. Although once summer hits I’ll be thinking the opposite… Why did I ever start this garden! Haha!

But I really do love gardening and I want to encourage you to love your garden as well. There’s a great quote I saw once that said:

“if you want to be happy for a lifetime, be a gardener”

And I really believe that’s true, there’s nothing better than digging in the garden, watching your plants grow and harvesting your own food!

If you need more help in your gardening journey I highly recommend this book. It is so helpful and no matter how much I learn I always refer back to it.

Get your free Vegetable Planting Schedule!

Sign up and get this planting schedule with all planting dates sent straight to your inbox!!


  1. Could you talk about how you start your seeds? I am new to vegetable gardening and wondered about the best methods. I really like your webpage–it is clearly written and has relevant and helpful information.
    Thank you! Andrea

    1. Hi Andrea, thank you I really appreciate that and am so happy to hear that you have found the information to be helpful! Depending on what I am starting from seed will depend on whether or not I start them in pots first or put them straight into the garden. For example if you want to start tomatoes from seed they will not grow well by planting straight into the ground, and so about 6 weeks before you want to transplant them into the garden I start them in pots filled with a seed starting potting mix. Then it is important for it to be warm in order for them to germinate. So I will often bring them inside and set them next to the fireplace at night since it’s around February-March when I am starting them. Then once they germinate it’s important for them to get enough light so I put them under a grow light for at least 12 hours a day. However, other veggies such as zucchini are really easy to start from seed by just planting the seeds directly into the garden once the danger of frost has passed.

  2. Audrey, you have a truly helpful site. Thanks for taking the time and interest.
    I haven’t gotten to your chicken section, yet, but I will.
    Larry Tucker

  3. I did not find where I could ask a question on zuchanni. It appears I did not have any female plants and kept checking to hand fertilize. Any suggestions for this fall??? Thanks

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