How to Grow Vegetable Seeds Outdoors

Learn how certain vegetable seeds, like beets and carrots, can be sown directly into the ground in spring. 

Community Gardens Encourage Healthy Family Foods

Community Gardens Encourage Healthy Family Foods

Growing vegetables in a backyard garden or as part of a community garden leads to delicious homegrown food encouraging a healthier lifestyle for a family.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Growing vegetables in a backyard garden or as part of a community garden leads to delicious homegrown food encouraging a healthier lifestyle for a family.

Materials Needed

  • vegetable seeds of choice
  • garden fork
  • cloches or plastic sheeting
  • rake
  • string
  • draw hoe
  • watering can or garden hose
  • plant labels

Step 1: Prepare the Seed Bed

Add Organic Matter

Add Organic Matter

Dig in plenty of organic matter, such as compost or rotted farmyard manure, in the garden area before planting. Work compost in the soil, then dig hole as deep as the nursery pot.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Turn over the bed the previous season, removing any weeds, and incorporate well-rotted manure or garden compost.

Step 2: Use String to Mark Lines

Make Drills in Fine Soil with Edge of Garden Hoe

Make Drills in Fine Soil with Edge of Garden Hoe

Prepare the soil for sowing seeds. Work in plenty of compost with a spade or spading fork.. The soil should be loose and crumbly and moist before planting. Rake smooth. Mark placement of a row with a furrow.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Warm the soil if necessary using cloches or plastic sheeting. Rake the soil to a fine tilth, and use string to mark lines. Make a drill by pulling the edge of a draw hoe along the length of the string.

Step 3:  Sow Seeds Along the Drill

Sow Seeds Along Drill Spacing Per Directions

Sow Seeds Along Drill Spacing Per Directions

Sowing in drills means sowing them in rows. To sow in drills, dig over the soil, rake it, then mark out rows with a stick or the back of a hoe. Sow the seeds in the rows, then cover by raking the soil from the side of the row over the drill.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Sow seeds one at a time and space them according to the instructions on the packet. For most crops this will be their final position, but sow generously since they can be thinned later.

Step 4: Cover the Seeds With Soil

Rake Soil Surface and Gently Cover Seeds

Rake Soil Surface and Gently Cover Seeds

Gently cover seeds with soil, and carefully rake over the surface. Water the soil carefully to avoid disturbing the soil.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

After gently covering the seeds, very lightly rake over the surface. Water the soil carefully to avoid disturbing the seeds. Mark the position of the row with a label.

Step 5: Consider Plug Plants

Plug Plants Save Time and Space for Gardener

Plug Plants Save Time and Space for Gardener

Plug plants are plants ready for actual planting. They are designed to be introduced to a garden or landscape with substantial growth already established. They can begin to produce flowers, fruit or vegetables much sooner than traditional seed planting.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

If you don’t have the time or space to grow plants from seed, or you only want a few, buying plug plants is the solution, although it is more expensive than raising plants from seed. Plugs are available by mail order or from garden centers, but the choice of varieties can be limited. In mid-spring, select plugs with undamaged leaves and healthy root systems. If you buy via mail order, they will be sent to you at the optimal planting time. Water well, and repot or plant out immediately.

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