After weeks of nursing your seeds to seedlings, there are bound to be a few seeds that didn’t make it. That’s ok! While the loss may be a “kick in the plants,” buying plants from a nursery is a completely reasonable method to get your garden off to a good start this season.

Selecting store-bought plants comes with its own pros and cons, so when you’re browsing the aisle, keep a few things in mind:

Check Their Vitals! Remove the plant from the pot and take a look at the roots (make sure to not damage the plant!) Do the roots look like a tangled, strangled mess? Opt for a plant with roots proportionate to the amount of soil.

Also, (and this might go without saying) avoid discolored, wilted or slimy leaves, as these may be signs of disease.

Variety: Buying plants from a nursery limits the plant varieties to choose from. While nurseries typically carry the most common two or three types of tomatoes, they most likely won’t have anything else. Look to local farmers or fellow gardeners to trade for exotic plants.

Speaking of variety, Full Circle has hundreds of varieties of tomatoes this year! if you’re tomato seeds didn’t sprout, or you’re looking for a little more flavor, come on down to the Full Circle Gardnerville office to adopt some heirloom tomatoes for your garden.

Misleading Abundance: When a plant feels “threatened,” it produces fruit in a last-ditch effort at carrying on its family name. It’s tempting to grab up the most abundant looking plants, but they’re not always your best bet. Store-bought plants with bunches of fruit are likely just feeling threatened because:

  • they aren’t getting watered enough
  • they have outgrown their container
  • they have zapped the soil of all nutrients

Look for healthy, lively, happy plants (regardless of amount of fruit).

Transplant Your Remaining Seedlings  Don’t forget about your surviving seedlings! If you missed, check out Farmer Craig’s advice on safely How To Transplant a Tomato, The Easy Way

Hungry for more? Download our all new Grower’s Guide for tons of gardening and composting tips!