I am a new gardener, and am really excited to grow my own vegetables. It's end of May, so I may have missed the boat slightly in terms of planting seeds and growing a tomato plant from that. Next year, I will be prepared, and will maximize the growing season. But what do I do? Do I buy a packet of seeds, do seed starters, and then transplant into a pot or the ground? Or just buy a tomato plant and transplant that into my pot?
It seems that buying a plant just saves a little work and is many many times more expensive (a plant could be a few bucks, and a single seed in a packet might be a nickel). The plant would help me this year because I missed the boat in the spring to plant seeds, so it might help me make up for that. But outside of being lazy and/or lack of planning, is there really a reason to buy plants, when you could have just planted a seedling a few months prior? Are there any benefits to buying the tomato plant.
Can anybody share their thoughts/experiences on the matter? My questions are about growing all vegetables, not just the tomato example I used above.
EDIT: I live in the SF Bay Area. The climate here is pretty mild/nice.