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Planting Seeds vs. Starts: Pros and Cons

Plant from seed? Tuck in starts? You’ve got choices, my friend.

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You’re all geared up to plant a fall garden — or any garden for that matter — and you’re stuck at the crossroads of planting seeds or planting starts. Here’s a checklist that will help you decide which planting path you should be going down.

Vegetable plants such as radishes, turnips, carrots, spinach, beets, and even lettuce aren’t especially thrilled to be transplanted. So I always suggest that people plant them directly into the garden bed by seed. As for the rest of them — you’ve got choices, my friend.

Starting with Seeds

They can be challenging, exciting, and addicting.

Pros:

  1. Seeds are the most inexpensive way to plant a garden.
  2. They offer the most options as far as varieties considering that you can order seeds from anyone, anywhere. Seed catalogs alone are collection-worthy.
  3. There’s some serious pride attached to growing your vegetables from seed-to-plate.
  4. If you complete the circle by continually keeping the seeds from open-pollinated plants in your garden, you’ll create a vegetable strain (AKA: landrace) that thrives in your particular environment.

Cons:

  1. There’s a learning curve with seeds, for sure. They can be tricky (but most are not that tricky).
  2. Research on the seed varieties that you’re interested in growing is important with seeds. Make sure that they’re a good match for your climate and growing zone before purchasing.
  3. Seeds need to be planted pretty darn close to “right time” on the garden calendar. This is neccesary in order to create sturdy plants with a strong root system. Attention should be paid to the amount of weeks before (or after) the first frost, etc.
  4. Some seeds need special nurturing (“babying”) while their on their way to young planthood. For instance, tomato seedlings will need some moving air (such as a fan) to development well.
  5. You’ll need a seed germinating station indoors. This doesn’t mean specific “grow lights” (regular shop lights are fine for germinating seeds), but there usually is an initial investment of some kind.

Photo by Mark Levisay under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.

Growing with Starts – Also known as transplants or baby plants

Of course, all garden vegetables begin with seeds. But you don’t have to start your vegetable garden with them.

Pros:

  1. Starts can be a welcome jumpstart as someone else did the delicate baby part for you. With starts, your garden starts of with strong baby plants that have already been hardened off or acclimated to the outdoors.
  2. Local nurseries carry starts that are grown spcifically for your area. So you don’t have to worry about planting a variety that doesn’t do well in your zone.
  3. Having strong, young plants gives you much leeway as far as correct planting times. For instance, it’s the end of September here and it’s too late to grow broccoli for my fall garden from seed. But I can grab starts from a garden center and get them in the ground tomorrow and no one would be the wiser.
  4. Starts are especially perfect for beginning gardeners who would like to skip the part that includes vulnerable, infant plants.

Cons:

  1. Starts are the most expensive way to plant a garden. Prices can vary drastically depending on where you shop.
  2. Your variety choices are limited to the plants sitting in the nursery or garden center.

I typically choose seeds to plant my gardens. But it just so happens that this year I’ve turned to planting some starts in my fall garden. My cauliflower, broccoli, and peas were off to a grand start when one of my family members (whom shall remain unnamed — mostly because everyone is smart enough not to confess) left the gate open.

The deer made short work of my young, cool-weather garden. I was back to square one, so I picked up some starts in the nursery and we are back in the fall garden business again.

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5 Reasons to Plant Starter Plants Instead of Seeds

Looking for a quick, easy way to plant up your vegetable or herb garden? Consider using ready-to-plant seedlings (also called transplants or starts) for just about everything but root crops. They’re worth the difference in price when you tally up the advantages over planting seeds.

Looking for a quick, easy way to plant up your vegetable or herb garden? Consider using starter plants (also called transplants, seedlings, or starts) for just about everything but root crops. They’re worth the difference in price when you tally up the advantages over planting seeds. Consider these five reasons to plant starter plants.

1. You get a head start

When you buy starter plants, you’re buying plants that are typically several weeks old, and have been nurtured through the most delicate early stages of growth by professional growers in a greenhouse. It’s like buying an already-roasted chicken at the grocery store — a lot of the work has already been done for you.

2. You can start later

It happens to everyone at some point: You have every intention to start your garden, then something comes up and by the time you get around to planting, it’s days (or weeks) later. Starter plants help make up for the lost time.

3. You get instant satisfaction

Sow seeds in the garden and you’ll be staring at a bed of soil for a while. Put starter plants in there and voila! It looks like you’ve actually planted something. Seeing all that green out there from the get-go can be very inspiring.

4. Your garden starts out stronger

Well-grown starter plants started in a greenhouse (think ideal temperature, moisture, and feeding) have been reared in conditions that encourage well-developed root systems and vigorous growth. Plus, there’s less of a chance that they’ll be affected by cutworms, damping off, or other problems that can bother recently germinated plants.

5. Harvest-time comes sooner

It just makes sense: The closer a plant is to maturity, the sooner it will bear fruit. Starter plants can put you weeks closer to harvest time. That means you can enjoy that garden-fresh bowl of salad, BLT, or homemade salsa that much sooner.

Article written by Su Reid-St. John.

A native of the Mediterranean region and member of the mint family, rosemary is a lovely, easy-to-grow plant with great culinary and ornamental value. A striking, upright evergreen shrub that is winter-hardy in zones 8 to 10, it fills the air with its fragrance as soon as you brush your hand across the leaves. The key to growing rosemary is a well-drained soil that stays evenly moist at first; as the plant takes root it becomes increasingly drought tolerant. It is also excellent for containers, which lets gardeners in colder climates to bring it indoors in the winter. Unlike most herbs, rosemary has a stronger flavor when fresh than when dried. Cut sprigs anytime for fresh use. Trim it regularly to encourage tender new stems or the plant will get woody. It’s hard to have too much rosemary. The plant has so many uses that it will be enjoyed all the time. Just a few cut stems will fill a room with fragrance.

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Thyme is an easy and practical herb to grow. Highly aromatic, it enhances meat dishes, eggs, cheeses, soups, and sauces, and it is a primary component of both Bouquet Garni and Herbes de Provence. Use it to elevate the flavor of good ole’ beef stew, too. This tiny-leaved thyme is among the most aromatic, more so than larger-leafed varieties. You may also hear it called winter thyme, because it is one of the most cold hardy of all the different thymes. The leaves are evergreen to semi-evergreen, depending on the how far North it is growing. In the warm, humid climates of zones 9 and 10 it may suffer in the summer; in zone 10 it is best to lower your expectations and just consider it a cool season annual. Thyme is well suited for containers because of its size and the fact that it demands perfect drainage. Give it excellent drainage in a pot and good air circulation. Because it is low-growing and has thin stems and a wiry habit, don’t crowd it because vigorous neighboring plants might choke it out. Upright-growing rosemary is a good companion.

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Easy to grow, chives pack a lot of flavor for their compact size. The plants form neat grass-like clumps of tubular leaves that contribute an onion flavor to salads, creamy soups, potatoes, egg dishes, and others. A wonderful addition to an herb garden. Great for containers, and also makes a neat border. Enjoy the light purple blooms in the spring–they are edible, too. Frost tolerant. Organic varieties are only available at retailers.

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Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow. This one has extra large leaves that most cooks really like for chopping into sauces and drinks. Our sweet mint is grown from cuttings of a variety that comes to us from Israel, where mint is used in many dishes, from lamb to yogurt sauce. We think you’ll like the rich spearmint flavor of this variety. This plant can go a little crazy, though, so be careful or it can spread farther than you might like. For this reason many people grow it in a pot. The long stems can even be trained on a little wire trellis, especially in spots where a a bit of shade causes it to stretch. Keep pinched to encourage tender new leaves.Organic varieties are only available at retailers.

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A native of the Mediterranean region and member of the mint family, rosemary is a lovely, easy-to-grow plant with great culinary and ornamental value. A striking, upright evergreen shrub that is winter-hardy in zones 8 to 10, it fills the air with its fragrance as soon as you brush your hand across the leaves. The key to growing rosemary is a well-drained soil that stays evenly moist at first; as the plant takes root it becomes increasingly drought tolerant. It is also excellent for containers, which lets gardeners in colder climates to bring it indoors in the winter. Unlike most herbs, rosemary has a stronger flavor when fresh than when dried. Cut sprigs anytime for fresh use. Trim it regularly to encourage tender new stems or the plant will get woody. It’s hard to have too much rosemary. The plant has so many uses that it will be enjoyed all the time. Just a few cut stems will fill a room with fragrance.

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Thyme is an easy and practical herb to grow. Highly aromatic, it enhances meat dishes, eggs, cheeses, soups, and sauces, and it is a primary component of both Bouquet Garni and Herbes de Provence. Use it to elevate the flavor of good ole’ beef stew, too. This tiny-leaved thyme is among the most aromatic, more so than larger-leafed varieties. You may also hear it called winter thyme, because it is one of the most cold hardy of all the different thymes. The leaves are evergreen to semi-evergreen, depending on the how far North it is growing. In the warm, humid climates of zones 9 and 10 it may suffer in the summer; in zone 10 it is best to lower your expectations and just consider it a cool season annual. Thyme is well suited for containers because of its size and the fact that it demands perfect drainage. Give it excellent drainage in a pot and good air circulation. Because it is low-growing and has thin stems and a wiry habit, don’t crowd it because vigorous neighboring plants might choke it out. Upright-growing rosemary is a good companion.

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Easy to grow, chives pack a lot of flavor for their compact size. The plants form neat grass-like clumps of tubular leaves that contribute an onion flavor to salads, creamy soups, potatoes, egg dishes, and others. A wonderful addition to an herb garden. Great for containers, and also makes a neat border. Enjoy the light purple blooms in the spring–they are edible, too. Frost tolerant. Organic varieties are only available at retailers.

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Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow. This one has extra large leaves that most cooks really like for chopping into sauces and drinks. Our sweet mint is grown from cuttings of a variety that comes to us from Israel, where mint is used in many dishes, from lamb to yogurt sauce. We think you’ll like the rich spearmint flavor of this variety. This plant can go a little crazy, though, so be careful or it can spread farther than you might like. For this reason many people grow it in a pot. The long stems can even be trained on a little wire trellis, especially in spots where a a bit of shade causes it to stretch. Keep pinched to encourage tender new leaves.Organic varieties are only available at retailers.

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Enjoy oregano aroma and flavor on pizza, in egg dishes, and in tomato sauces. Native to the Mediterranean region, this plant prefers climates with lower humidity, so keep the foliage and roots away from too much moisture. Give it good air circulation. For that reason, it is perfectly suited for a container. In the ground it makes a ground-cover-like mat. Harvest anytime, but especially as the stems begin to get tall and are getting ready to flower — that is when the leaves are the most flavorful. Cut it back several times during the growing season to harvest the leaves from the stems.

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Italian Flat Parsley

This Italian flat-leafed parsley has, of course, flat leaves, which distinguish it from the better-known curly-leafed parsley. At first the foliage might be easily confused with cilantro. However, its flavor is distinctly parsley, and it is favored for its deep flavor, which some say holds up better in cooking than curly parsley. It is popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. Easy to chop, the nutritious flat leaves are high in iron and in vitamins A, C, and E. A high chlorophyll content makes it a natural breath sweetener, too. This is a great plant for containers, especially for fall and winter in zone 7 and south. Of course, you can also use it in vegetable and herb beds. In a flower bed it makes a nice, green leafy companion to small flowers such as pansies. It is also more tolerant of hot weather than curly parsley (which can struggle during the peak of summer) and is frost tolerant. Organic varieties are only available at retailers.

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Need a little help relaxing? Add chamomile to the garden, and brew a cup of homegrown, soothing chamomile tea to unwind before bed. While best known for use in tea, the pretty, edible flowers also add a slightly sweet flavor to dishes, desserts, and drinks. Chamomile looks lovely and makes a great companion plant in vegetable gardens, attracting beneficial insects, like pollinators and predatory insects that feed on pests, to boost harvests and keep veggies healthy. Enjoy the large shows of pretty, petite, daisy-like flowers—they look great in bouquets, too. Plant in full sun to partial shade. Annual. Matures in 60 to 65 days.

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Green Romaine Lettuce

This is the classic romaine. Its compact, dark green rosette of tall, upright leaves is slightly curly with white hearts and has a crisp, sweet flavor. Slow to bolt. Grows best in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade and even appreciates it in spring in hot climates. Organic varieties are only available at retailers.

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Gardeners add the uniquely flavored leaves of common garden sage, an herbaceous perennial, to sauces, stuffings, poultry, pork, and sausage. It provides a lovely fragrance and flavor to a dish, especially when leaves are sautéed before adding. It is a good fall and winter plant in hot climates. Great for containers. Needs good drainage. Organic varieties are only available at retailers.

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Most popular variety of everbearing strawberry! Large, soft, deliciously sweet fruit ideal for preserves or fresh eating. Produces from late spring through fall. Developed by Washington State University, this variety is popular everywhere for its delicious berries that are perfect for home gardens. Great for containers. Plant so that crown is just above soil level.

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Spearmint has strong flavor and fragrance that is released with simple bruising. It’s the best mint variety for hot and cold drinks. Toss bruised leaves into ice water for a refreshing summer drink or add to iced tea. Spearmint is favored for flavoring beverages such as mojito. Also know as Yerba Buena. Spreading plant is great for containers. Tolerates light frost.

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If you like the aromatic flavor of salsa served in Mexican restaurants, you’ll like cilantro. The leaves have an instantly recognizable fragrance that fills a room when you cut them. Sometimes called Chinese parsley, its distinctive aroma and flavor is also part of Caribbean and Asian foods, lending flavor to recaito, salsas, curries, salads, chutneys, herbed butters, and meat marinades.Cilantro looks like flat leaf Italian parsley, but the leaves are thinner. It grows in a rosette of stemmy leaves that are ready to harvest shortly after planting. Young leaves have the best flavor, so be sure to harvest often. It is a fast-growing annual except in milder climates where it will overwinter. Cilantro grows tall and blooms at the end of its life, usually after the weather gets hot. After it blooms, harvest the seeds–they are what you buy in spice jars as coriander, another common ingredient in Asian cooking. You can grind the seeds or use them whole. Some gardeners also let the seeds drop to make new plants.Fall is a great time to grow cilantro in mild climates, as the plants are frost tolerant and love the cool weather in fall, winter, and early spring.Organic varieties are only available at retailers.

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This herb is known around the world for its wonderful fragrance and flavor. The key ingredient in classic Italian pesto, Sweet Basil has big leaves that are fast and easy to grow so that you can make your own pesto to freeze for year-round use. It loves hot weather, so always wait until all danger of frost is past before planting in the garden in the spring, then harvest before the weather starts to cool down in fall. Great for containers, but be sure to keep watered. If you were to grow only one herb, this should probably be it. Dried basil just doesn’t have the aromatic quality of the fresh leaves, which are often added at the last minute to many Asian dishes. Organic varieties are only available at retailers.

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Ozark Beauty Strawberry

This everbearing variety produces high yields of large, very sweet fruit from late spring until frost, with concentrated fruiting in summer and again in fall. Ideal for jam, preserves, or desserts. Plants are cold-hardy and send out long runners. Great for containers.

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Many herbs are easy to grow, and this is definitely true for peppermint. Square stems tend to run rampantly over — and under — soil. In small garden spaces, it’™s best to tuck peppermint into a pot to curtail its wandering ways. Peppermint thrives alongside water gardens or in damp spots in the yard, but will also survive in drier soil. Lushest growth occurs in moist soil in partial shade. Crush fresh leaves into water for a refreshing beverage, or add to iced tea. You can also dry leaves for flavoring dishes or beverages and making desserts like meringues, cookies, or cakes. Pick leaves frequently. Plants open lavender blooms in late summer. Tolerates light frost.

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Lemon balm, a member of the mint family, is a lovely mild herb named for the lemony scent of its leaves. Originally grown in South Europe, lemon balm is often used in combination with other herbs and is frequently found in poultry and fish dishes, desserts, and teas. It also makes a nicely scented sachet. Plant one at the edge of a gate so that when the gate opens and closes the lemony scent fill the air. Like other types of mint, it likes to spread, so a container is a great choice.

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Red Romaine Lettuce

This eye-catching romaine deserves a spot in both the vegetable and the flower garden. Colorful leaves start out green, then fade to a deep red-bronze as they mature. Red Romaine leaves bring a sweet, flavorful crunch to salads and sandwiches. The heads (if allowed to form) are thick enough to grill. Plants are slow to bolt and grow best in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade and even appreciate it in spring in hot climates. Resistant to mosaic virus.

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Developed by Cornell University, this heat-tolerant, Bibb-type lettuce has quickly become a favorite since earning All America status in 1963. Its rich green leaves, sometimes tinged with red, form a beautiful rosette in the garden that holds well under stress and has good bolt resistance. A good source of vitamin A and phytonutrients. Grows best in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade and even appreciates it in spring in hot climates.

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Aloe Vera (2-Pack)

Trendy succulents look great both indoors and out, but aloe vera offers more than just pretty decor: the clear gel inside the plant helps heal wounds and soothes sunburned skin! This easy-to-grow, tough plant adds beauty to the garden but grows well inside, too. Plant in a sunny, well-drained location outside in year-round warm climates, or grow aloe in a container to bring in when temperatures fall below 50 degrees. (Use cactus potting mix for best drainage.) If you’re growing it inside, place in bright, indirect light. Keep aloe in the kitchen for a quick burn remedy. Tender perennial.

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This variety of dark green spinach has been a standout in many regions, including the North. It is slow to bolt and suitable for spring, summer, and fall planting. The full, upright plants produce high yields of large, triangular leaves that are rich in the phytonutrient lutein. Both frost and heat tolerant.

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Curled parsley has beautiful, dark green leaves well known as the classic garnish for deviled eggs and an ingredient in tabbouleh (parsley salad) or white clam sauce for pasta. However, it has many more uses. Hardy through zones 7 and warmer, it is a great winter garden plant and looks beautiful in containers with pansies or other winter color. The nutritious leaves are high in iron and in vitamins A, C, and E. The high chlorophyll content makes it a natural breath sweetener, too. Frost tolerant. Great in containers.

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Early Girl Tomato

When gardeners talk about the “first” tomatoes, Early Girl is always there. This may be the most all-round popular hybrid to satisfy that itch for the first fresh tomato of the season. Use them for slicing on a place, into a salad, or on a sandwich. This a proven all-round early hybrid. Use it to jump start your harvest. Early Girl bears lots of fruit for early harvest, but because the vines are indeterminate, they continue producing through summer. In our Alabama test garden, where conditions are ideal and the growing season is long, we harvest an average of 300 tomatoes from each Early Girl plant! Many gardeners plant it again late in the summer so that it will produce a huge fresh crop of “fall tomatoes” quickly before frost.Resistant to verticillium wilt (V) and fusarium wilt races 1 and 2 (F).

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Cherokee Purple – Heirloom Tomato

Heirloom. Cherokee Purple seeds, originating from Tennessee, are thought to have been passed down from Native Americans of the Cherokee tribe. This heirloom tomato variety consistently ranks very high in taste tests. Slice Cherokee Purple tomato for rich, dark color and unmatched sweet, rich taste on sandwiches or in salads. The tomato is a beautiful dusky pink with a deep, rich-red interior. Cherokee Purple grows well in most regions of the U.S. Let the fruit ripen on the vine for the best flavor. This one is a consistent taste test winner at tomato fests around the country. For an heirloom, it is a good producer. In our Alabama test garden, where conditions are ideal and the season is long, we harvest and average of 20 or more fruits from each plant. Vigorous vines benefit from strong staking or caging.

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Poblano (Ancho) Pepper

Mexico’s favorite chile pepper! When traditionally ripened to red and dried, this pepper is known as an ‘Ancho’; it is also used green, as a ‘Poblano’, for making chiles rellenos. The thick-walled, mildly hot fruit have a rich, mellow flavor. The name Poblano comes from the valley of Puebla, south of Mexico City, where the peppers were first cultivated. This pepper produces continuously through the summer in climates with warm days and cool nights. This is a big plant, so give it the space it needs when planting: Set it at least 3 to 4 feet from other plants.Organic varieties are only available at retailers.

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The name, Big Boy, is easy to remember and so is the flavor. This is a big, sandwich-type slicer with smooth, bright red fruit and a flavor that everybody likes. It bears heavily in mid-season, yet the indeterminate vines continue fruiting (though not as heavily) until frost. Plants in our Alabama test garden, where conditions are excellent, have yielded 100 tomatoes each through a 10-week harvest season. Long vines need staking, or grow the plant in a tall cage. Resistant to cracking.

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Savor classic Italian cuisine with the flavorful leaves of this oregano. An easy-growing plant for the garden or container, Italian oregano hails from the Mediterranean region. That means it thrives with lower humidity and well-drained soil. In the garden, use this oregano as an edging plant. Plants spread when happy, rooting along the stems. Harvest leaves or stems anytime during the growing season. Flavor is most intense just before plants flower. Trim plants often to keep flower formation at bay.

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Your favorite feline will purr-fectly adore fresh catnip. Add it to your garden bed or plant it in a container for inside kitties, and watch them go wild! A member of the mint family, catnip creates a comical response in most cats, with lots of purring, rubbing, and rolling on the plant. This easy-to-grow, hardy herb produces pretty clusters of white flowers with purple dots in the summer, adding beauty to your garden. And, if your feline friend will share, catnip leaves make a lovely tea for humans. Dry the leaves to create homemade cat toys stuffed with catnip for more cat antics! Plant in full sun to part shade. Perennial (zones 4 to 10).

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German Queen Heirloom Tomato

Heirloom. This old-fashioned beefsteak has large, sweet fruits that are lower in acid and quite meaty, making them perfect for slicing. The indeterminate vines will grow tall and bear fruit all summer long, so be sure to stake strongly or cage. One slice makes a great sandwich filling!

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Sometimes known as the “fish herb” because it’s such a delicious complement to fish, dill is used in many dishes, especially dips, soups, vinegars, and salads. Fernleaf is an improved, more compact variety of ordinary dill. A 1992 All-America Selections winner, this variety of dill continues to be a favorite for its garden performance and the fact that it offers a lot of foliage. It is also slower to set seed than ordinary dill varieties, which means that you can harvest foliage longer. As the flowers do appear, you can harvest the dill seed for making dill pickles or other dishes calling for dill seed. Dill leaves or seeds are used in the cooking of many cultures around the world.

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Sweet Green Bell Pepper

Bonnie’s best hybrid sweet bell pepper! A heavy yielder of large fruits. A good all-round pepper for slicing, stuffing, and freezing. This bell produces lots of fresh bell peppers gradually over the growing season. Plants in our Alabama garden produce from June through October, yielding 30 or more peppers from each plant. (Your results will vary based on care and the length of your growing season.) This is a good-sized plant, so be prepared to stake if needed. Organic varieties are only available at retailers.

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Yellow Bell Pepper

Yellow, thick-walled, sweet fruits add appetizing color and vitamins to fresh salads, and are superb for stuffing as well as fresh use. Plants can get quite large, so be prepared to support them, especially when carrying lots of fruit. Ripens green to yellow.

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A beauty with benefits! The large, purple blooms of coneflower look lovely in beds and bouquets, plus they attract pollinators. Companion plant coneflowers among vegetables and watch the bees and butterflies arrive to help pollinate your crops! Coneflowers even attract beneficial predatory insects that control pests, like aphids and tomato hornworms. Plus, you’ve probably heard of the health benefits of Echinacea—the Latin name for coneflowers—in boosting immunity. Enjoy a cup of homegrown tea while you watch the butterflies and bees flock to your coneflowers.

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Well adapted to warm weather, these plants form smooth, dark green heads on medium-sized stems with few side shoots. Heads offer classic flavor and all the vitamins and protein broccoli is known for. Water plants consistently for best yields, especially as temperatures climb. If you like Packman, you’ll like Lieutenant Broccoli.

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This grass is attractive to dogs and cats. They need a little grass in their diets, especially if they do not spend a lot of time outdoors, where they will often chew on whatever grass is available. This easy-to-grow grass is also called intermediate wheatgrass, but it is not the wheat from which bread flour is made. This is originally an Asian pasture grass that was introduced to the US many years ago for pasture and fodder. You can grow it in pots for your indoor pets, or plant it in beds outdoors for animals that spend time outside.

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This pretty blue-green hybrid kale is easy to grow and will keep you supplied for months. Vigorous producer, with leaves growing lushly on compact plants. Cut outer leaves so that center can continue growing. Light frost makes the leaves taste sweeter. Organic varieties are only available at retailers.

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Called “Bright Lights,” this variety of Swiss chard is as pretty as it is tasty. Large leaves with a prominent, flat wide mid-rib grow in an upright rosette that is beautiful in a bed or container. Grows best in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade and even appreciates it in spring in hot climates. Highly nutritious, the leaves taste a lot like spinach, but this plant is a member of the beet family. Frost tolerant. Harvested chard freezes well.

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Yellow Blotch Pansy

Add a burst of sunshine to your garden with Bonnie Plants® Yellow Blotch Pansy. The sweet, cheerful yellow flowers with pretty faces look lovely in flower beds, windowboxes, veggie gardens, or added to a bud vase. The cute annual flowers brighten landscapes during cool seasons, adding much needed color in spring and fall gardens in warm climates, while putting on an early summer show in northern gardens. Mix pansies into a garden bed with spring blooming bulbs: they’ll not only complement tulips and daffodils, but pansy’s pretty foliage helps disguise fading bulb blooms. Add pansies to a container with kale or ornamental cabbage for a fantastic fall display. (Don’t worry about chilly nights: they’re frost tolerant!) Yellow Blotch Pansy’s fabulous flowers make a great addition in the veggie garden, too. Plant a burst of bright color among lettuce, arugula, and kale. Plant Yellow Blotch Pansy in well-drained, evenly moist soil and feed with Miracle-Gro® Plant Food at planting. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Use mulch to help retain moisture and keep soil cool to prolong the blooms as temperatures rise. For best results, add high-quality Bonnie Plants® live plant pansy to your garden instead of growing from seed for an instant addition of color and brightness. Your garden will be off to a great start!

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These purple basil leaves have a beautiful, coppery glow and clove-like, slightly spicy flavor. Use them in salads or preserved in oils and vinegars. A pot of purple basil provides surprisingly, striking color in the garden.