Everything A New Gardener Needs to Know About Direct Sowing

Direct sowing

Are you thinking about growing seeds in your garden but aren't quite sure where to start? Many kinds of herbs, flowers and vegetables can benefit from direct sowing. So how do you start and ensure success?

hand placing seeds in soil

What Is Direct Sowing?

Direct sowing, or direct seeding, is probably what most people think of when they think of gardening. It refers to seeds that are planted outside in the soil instead of grown from a transplant or started indoors.

Should I Direct Sow My Seeds? 

You may choose to direct sow some or all of your seeds. Whether you direct seed or choose to transplant will depend on the needs of each particular plant, your growing conditions, and some other factors. There are some plants that simply do better sown directly outside. Plants with long taproots or delicate root systems can be much easier to sow directly than to try to transplant without damage. Succession plantings are much easier to manage outdoors once the weather is nice. 

Getting Ready for Direct Seeding

If you’re planning to direct sow part or all of your garden, your first step is to choose your garden plot. You may already have a spot in mind for your garden, or maybe you need to do a little research to make up your mind. Learn more about the different factors you will want to consider when picking the perfect location for planting. 

Once you’ve picked out your spot, it’s time to plan your garden. You’ll want to consult the calendar for this step. Knowing each seed’s best soil temperature for germination can help you to decide when you’re ready to sow each particular group of seeds outside so that they can thrive. 

Take inventory to see whether you have all the tools you need and if they’re in good repair. 

While you’re planning, take some time to sketch out your garden to help you visualize where things will grow. Our article on “Rows or Beds, Which is Best?” can help you to understand the advantages of different ways of organizing your plants and get you started on your garden blueprints.

small seeds in hands

Successful Direct Sowing

Sowing directly outside can be risky, but a little prep work goes a long way. Even when you’ve consulted the trends in your region, the weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important that you’re prepared to protect tender plants if a cold snap comes after your baby seeds are in the ground. 

It’s gratifying to direct sow your seeds and then watch them grow. A little planning can improve your odds of success, so take a moment to think things through before you get started. 

It’s fantastic to enjoy the transformation of your garden from barren to lush over the course of a season, and your hard work will pay off! 

Every year, you’ll learn more about different seeds, your garden and ecosystem, and what works for you. Take notes on what you’ve learned for next year, and most importantly, have fun!

Written by Teresa Chandler

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