Direct Sow Seeds for Easy Gardening

If indoor seed-starting always seems a little complicated to you, make it easy on yourself this year with direct sow seeds instead.

Starting plants from seeds gives you many more options than what might be readily available at your local garden center. However, starting seeds indoors can seem a little overwhelming to those who don’t have the time, space, or knowledge. If you want to take advantage of the many vegetables and flowers available by seed without too much fuss or effort, direct sow seeds are the way to go. Just as the description says, you sow these seeds right into the ground, eliminating the worry and fuss of transplanting. Here are some guidelines for direct sow seeds and good types to try.

Direct Sow Seeds
Mustard and other greens are perfect direct sow seeds.

How To Direct Sow Seeds

Prep the Soil. Be sure your soil is well-loosened so seeds can easily send down their roots. Break up large clumps, pull any vegetation left from last year, and remove large sticks or rocks. Mix in compost or manure to provide the nutrients growing plants need.

Sow the Seeds. If your seeds are small, like carrots, mix them with some sand to make it easier to disperse them evenly. Sow them along the surface, and then cover lightly with a commercial seed starting mix. Large seeds, like beans, can be tucked in to the soil at the depth recommended on the seed packet.

Water Gently and Frequently. Use a light setting on your hose sprayer to water in the seeds thoroughly without washing them away. Keep the soil consistently moist as seeds begin to sprout. You may even need to water twice a day, depending on location.

Mark Your Plantings. It’s very easy to forget what seeds you’ve planted where. Use string to mark rows from above until seeds sprout. Use plant markers to head the rows or sections. (Try these easy DIY copper plant markers.) TIP: Save your seed packets in case you have questions later.

Thin Seedlings. It’s exciting to see all your direct sow seeds sprouting, but any that are growing too close together won’t be able to thrive. Follow the instructions on your seed packet to thin seedlings to the recommended spacing. Keep the strongest seedlings and pinch the others off at the base. Don’t try to pull them, or you may dislodge the roots of others nearby.

Direct Sow Seeds
Peas can be direct sown early in the season, as they tolerate light frost.

Direct Sow Seeds: Vegetables

  • Corn
  • Melons
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce, Spinach, and other greens
  • Radishes
  • Okra
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Turnips
  • Beets

Direct Sow Seeds: Flowers and Herbs

  • Sunflower
  • Zinnia
  • Marigold
  • Sweet Pea
  • Larkspur
  • Columbine
  • Dill
  • Thunbergia
  • Morning Glory
  • Parsley
  • Poppy
  • Snapdragon
  • Cosmos

Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.