Planting seeds outdoors is more than just putting seeds into the soil and adding water. It required you to know about the soil, the tools, the seeds, and more. Learn the right way to grow your garden from seeds outdoors.
When starting a garden for the first time, we asked ourselves many questions about how to get started and what we could do to succeed.
This article will cover how to sow your seeds outdoors, the best seeds to sow, and plant directly to the ground.
You see, there are many ways to sow seeds indoors, and outdoors is the most popular questions beginner are curious to know. So, to keep things simple, we will discuss starting seeds outdoors instead of indoors.
We will cover indoor seed starting in another article.
Depending on where you live, starting your garden indoors is a great way to kick start your gardening season, but there will be a time during the garden season when you will need to plant seeds for fall harvest in your garden.
Sowing seeds outdoors is a must if you plan gardening through fall.
Make sure you know your zone.
It is essential to know and understand your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. First, you need to know what plant will thrive where you live. Then, find your zone by clicking the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone link, type your zip code, or select your state.
When you find your zone, look at your seed packet and find the direction for sowing the seed in that zone.
Know when to plant your seeds.
There is a big difference when sowing your seeds indoors versus planting them outside in the ground. To find the best time to plant your seeds, look at your seed packets for instructions on when to sow your seeds indoors or outdoors.
Seeds germinating quickly, such as beans and squash, are best to plant outdoors instead of indoors. You will find more about the best seeds to sow outdoors in this article.
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How do I know what seeds will grow in the ground?
Every seed packet you buy has instructions on how far space they need when the seed is planted, estimated germination time, amount of sunlight, and zone.
You must read this information before planting your seeds outdoors. They have information about growing indoors as well.
Preparing the soil for seeds
Before you plant your seeds in your outdoor garden, it is crucial to prepare the ground. If the soil is hard, it can affect seed growth.
How do you know if your garden soil is ready for seeds?
Before sowing your seeds in the ground, you must make sure your soil is not dry or too moist. It is essential to know that seeds thrive on soils that are moist and loose. This allows the seeds to grow nicely.
To test your garden soil, pick up a handful of dirt, squeeze it with your hand, and form a bowl-like shape. Once your soil has a bowl-like shape, tap the soil and see if it breaks apart gently. If your soil passes this test, it is ready and in perfect condition to start your sowing process.
My garden soil is not ready and too dry to sow seeds.
If your garden soil is too dry and did not pass the test mentioned above, here is what you need to do to get your soil ready:
Water your soil, and don’t do anything until the next day. For example, do not plant any seeds that day.
Come back the next day and test the soil to see if it’s ready for sowing. If the soil is too wet, come back the next day. Remember that the ground can’t be too wet for seeds, and it is OK if it takes a few days to pass to be ready for seeds.
If the soil is perfect and ready for sowing, then go ahead and plant your seeds.
What are the best seeds to sow outdoors in early spring?
Cool-weather plants are the best seeds to plant outdoors in early spring. You can sow:
- Swiss chard
What are the best seeds to sow outdoors?
For a beginner garden, we recommend these seeds as they do well when planting directly to the ground:
What tools do I need to plant seeds outdoors?
To plant seeds in the ground, you can use the following tools:
- Planting sticks or bamboo sticks (optional but so helpful)
- Trowel (optional)
- Watering can with a rose head
How to plant seeds in the ground
To plant seeds in the soil, follow the step below:
First, use a planting stick or any straight stick (ruler, yardstick), and place it on the ground where you want to create a row.
Use the edge of a trowel or your fingers and draw a line along the edge of your stick.
Repeat these steps and create the desired rows you need.
Place the seeds according to seed packet instructions.
Cover the seeds with seed starter soil and lightly pat the ground above them. You can use your stick to that if you wish.
Water the seeds with a watering can with a rose head to avoid excessive water pressure on the ground.
Create labels for your seeds with the sowing date and what they are. Doing this will also help to track if your seeds are geminating correctly.
How to sow your seeds using a seed packet
Using your seed packet is a fast way to plant your seeds instead of using your fingers. To do this, start by creating a crease with your packet. You do this by gently pressing the side of your packet and crating a V shape by the opening.
Once you have created a V shape, turn the seed packet and slowly tap it to drop a few seeds into the ground.
Use a saltshaker to sow seeds.
Another way for a salt shaker to sow your seeds is to add the desired seeds into the shaker and secure the lid properly.
When should I start planting seeds outside?
Generally speaking, seeds need to be sown four to six weeks before the final frost date. The last frost date and the number of days till transplant are subtracted to determine the best time to plant seeds. How many weeks are specified on the seed packet?
Typically, the ideal time to plant seeds is from late March to late May. However, you can only start plants from seed in the early months in the southern zones. Allow the plant ample time to spawn and develop into a suitable transplant size.
Can I plant seeds directly outdoors?
One more choice is to plant seeds straight into the ground outside. This method of sowing seeds is known as direct sowing, and it is simple to do and produces excellent results.
In contrast to indoor seedling care, direct sowing involves uncontrollable factors like weather, fauna, and insects. However, many annuals, perennials, herbs, and vegetables can easily sprout from seeds placed straight into garden soil.
What temperature can you plant seeds outside?
The ideal temperature range varies depending on the seed, but for vegetables, it tends to be between 60 and 70 degrees F (15-21 C). Some plants will germinate at lower temperatures of 45 to 55 degrees F.
What are the best seeds to sow outdoors?
You can sow many seeds for annual flowers and vegetables immediately in the garden, but some may require an early start indoors. We advise these seeds for a newbie garden since they grow nicely when planted directly in the ground:
A brief soak in water for 4-6 hours before sowing will help seeds germinate more quickly in warm soil. Then, when the soil has warmed up, and the risk of frost has passed, sow in the late spring. Plant most varieties 1 inch deep and 3 to 4 inches apart. Usually, thinning is not required.
Three weeks before the last anticipated frost, direct sow seeds—plant seeds 1/3 inch apart and 1/2 inch deep. Consistently moisten the soil. Thin seedlings to one plant per inch for baby carrots or one plant every three inches for larger carrots once they are two inches tall.
For a continual crop, sow every two weeks during the cooler months. As soon as the ground can be handled, direct sow seeds. Plant the majority of cultivars 1/2 inch deep and 2-3 inches apart. Usually, thinning is not required.
For a continual crop, sow every two weeks during the cooler months. For a fall harvest, sow once more in mid-to late-summer. Warm soil inhibits the germination of seeds. Pre-sprouting seeds increase the rate of germination. As soon as the ground can be handled, direct sow seeds. Plant seeds for the majority of kinds 1/2 inch deep and 1 inch apart. Thin to a spacing of 2–6 inches.
Direct sow seeds one week after your last frost date, after the earth has warmed up. For the majority of squash types, use the mounds technique—plant 6 to 8 inches apart, 1 inch deep. Depending on the size of the fruit, place your hills 4-6 feet apart to three plants per hill, thin.
Other best seeds to sow outdoors include melons, zucchini, and leaf lettuce.
What are the best seeds to sow outdoors in early spring?
Vegetable seeds from “cool-season” crops will germinate in cool soil. For them to mature before the weather turns heated, they are frequently planted in the spring and the summer (to mature in the cool of autumn). The following list of vegetables like to be sown directly in the ground (not transplanted):
As soon as the ground can be handled, direct sow seeds. For a continual crop, sow every three weeks during the cooler months. A brief soak in water for 4-6 hours before sowing will help seeds germinate more quickly in warmer soil—plant seeds 1/4 inch deep and 1 inch apart for most types.
As soon as the ground can be handled, direct sow seeds. Keep the soil uniformly moist while planting seeds 1/4 inch deep. Thin leaf lettuce varieties should be spaced no more than four inches apart, while firm head varieties should be spaced no more than sixteen inches apart.
Two weeks prior to the last date of frost, direct sow seeds. A brief soak in water for 4-6 hours before sowing will help seeds germinate more quickly in warmer soil. Plant seeds 2 inches apart, 1/2 inch deep.
For a continual crop, sow every two weeks during the cooler months. As soon as the ground can be handled, direct sow seeds. Plant 1/4-inch deep and 1-2 inches apart for the majority of cultivars. Thin tiny turnip kinds to 2-4 inches apart and larger varieties to 4-6 inches apart after seedlings are 4 inches tall.
Once the plants are established, peas can endure moderate cold and prefer cool temperatures. A brief soak in water for 4-6 hours prior to sowing will help seeds germinate more quickly in warm soil. Direct sow pea seeds as soon as you can handle the soil in the early spring. Plant 1-inch deep and 2-3 inches apart for most types.
Potato and cauliflower seeds are also best to sow outdoors during early spring.