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In the Square Foot Gardening book, they suggest sprouting seeds in pure vermiculite and then moving those to seed trays w/ Mel's Mix until they're ready to be transplanted outdoors.

The vermiculite-seed-sprouting step seems like a lot of hassle, so is there any real reason not to just start seeds directly in seed trays using Mel's Mix?

What are the pro's/con's of skipping the first step?

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I think transplanting young seedlings is unnecessary, but is mostly used because you can start more seedlings at once, and transplant them rather than thin them, at a very young age. For this purpose, a very free draining material that also retains some moisture (like vermiculite) is necessary. What I do to avoid this step is: Space the seeds well, or start them in separate pots to start out with. So far, I haven't had any problems.

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