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11 Vegetables to Always Direct Sow from Seed

When it comes time to plant your garden there are some vegetables that you should transplant, some that you should direct sow from seed, and others that can be planted either way. But in this article, we’ll cover the plants that you should always direct sow from seed.

A girl direct sowing seeds into the garden

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When the gardening season arrives you’re likely going to start seeing started transplants in garden centers everywhere and it can be tempting to buy all of your plants as already perfectly growing plants.

And while some plants are great to plant as transplants, some should only be planted directly from seed straight into the garden.

So in this post, I’ll go over the vegetables that you should always grow from seed.

11 Vegetables to Direct Sow from Seed

Below are common plants that you should always direct sow from seed.

  1. Arugula
  2. Beets
  3. Carrots
  4. Garlic
  5. Lettuce, Baby Mix
  6. Mustard Greens
  7. Parsnips
  8. Potatoes
  9. Radishes
  10. Rutabagas
  11. Turnips

There are many other plants that can also be planted directly from seed but the ones listed here do not tolerate any root disturbance and so planting them as transplants should never be an option.

A young radish plant

So plan on getting seeds for these vegetables and if you’re looking for a great place to get seeds from, two of my favorite seed companies are,

Then once you get your seeds you’ll plan out your planting dates based on your weather and your gardening zone.

If you’d like to find your exact planting dates for your area, be sure to sign up and get your free vegetable planting schedule below.

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What is Direct Sowing of Seeds?

Direct sowing of seeds means planting seeds directly into the soil of your garden beds.

Direct sowing seeds into the garden

Benefits of Direct Sowing

The nice part about direct sowing your seeds is that you don’t have to go through the hassle of starting your own transplants. Having your own propagation area is fun and rewarding but it takes more time, materials, and attention.

Another plus is that depending on the weather, you may be able to count on the rain to help water your garden beds which means cutting back on the amount of watering you have to do.

Drawbacks of Direct Sowing 

Young plants are less likely to survive if they are attacked early on by insects or faced with an unexpected frost.

You will also need to thin out plants to get to the desired spacing, which takes some extra time and effort.

Lastly, direct seeding may result in slower germination rates if your soil temperature is not ideal. Or you could possibly have seeds that do not germinate at all due to unexpected extremes in nature.

Tips for Direct Sowing Seeds 

It’s an art to be proficient at direct seeding, but it is something everyone can be great at!

If you are patient and take the time to complete all steps you will have good germination rates, healthy plants, and much less work later on in the season.

1.) Create a Fine Seedbed

You want to make the seed’s life as easy as possible from day one. As seeds start to germinate, dirt clods, small rocks and chunks of wood can be barriers to root and stem development.

So before you sow your seeds, work up your garden beds and remove all noticeable rocks, dirt clods, and debris. Then create a smooth surface.

You can also sprinkle a seedling mix over top of the newly sown seeds instead of your garden soil.

A worked up garden bed ready for planting seeds in

2.) Create a Stale Seedbed

Try to prepare your garden beds a few weeks before you plan on planting your seeds. Working up the soil and watering the garden bed ahead of time will encourage the growth of any weeds.

Then you will have time to clear out the weeds before sowing your seeds. That way you won’t have to worry about as many weeds disturbing your young seedlings.

3.) Sow at Optimum Soil Temperature

Every crop has a soil temperature range for good germination. Soil that is too cold can rot seeds and soil that is too hot may kill seeds.

So be sure to look at the seed packet to get the ideal soil germination temperature for the seeds that you’re planting. Then you should test the soil temperature either by sticking your finger into the soil to get a rough estimate, or you can be more accurate and use a soil thermometer (amazon).

4.) Water Before and After Planting

You should water your garden bed prior to planting because it will help the seeds stay in place, and then water again after planting.

Then be sure to keep an eye on the soil moisture as you wait for your seeds to germinate. Seeds are planted shallow and it’s really easy for the soil around the seeds to dry out which can wreck germination rates.

Be sure to keep the soil consistently moist but not overly saturated with water.

5.) Keep Track of Planting Days

You should write down the day you plant your seeds so that you can keep track of when the seeds should germinate.

If the plants haven’t popped up within the expected range then you can quickly reseed without losing as many growing days.

Be sure to check out my Gardening Planner which will give you a great spot to keep all of your gardening notes and records.

Get Your Gardening Planner

Keeping vegetable gardening notes & records is the key to your gardening success!! Be sure to grab yours today!

6.) Plant an Appropriate Amount of Seeds

You don’t want to over-seed but you also shouldn’t under-seed. Plan on sowing 2-3 times as many plants as you want to harvest.

Another good practice is planting the seeds in rows and straight lines. If seeds are scattered all over the place it makes everything more difficult.

Young vegetable seedlings growing in the garden

7.) Thin Your Plants

I know that sometimes it can seem difficult to pull out plants that seem to be growing perfectly fine. But giving each plant the right amount of space is really important and will result in much healthier plants.

Once your plants have reached a few inches tall be sure to thin them out to the recommended spacing.

Remember that the vegetables listed in this article do not handle root disturbance and so when it comes time to thin, you should use scissors and snip off the extra plants versus pulling them up by the roots. If you pull out the additional plants you will disturb the roots of the plants on each side.

Have a Great Gardening Season

Having a green thumb and finding success with gardening may seem impossible but I promise it’s not. Gardening is a journey and each year will get better and better!

Just follow best practices such as planting on time, planting the proper way, and giving your plants lots of care and you’ll have a great garden.

When gardening starts feeling like a chore I just think back to why I am really doing it. And that is because I love it and harvesting my own food is an amazing reward!

So keep the positives in mind and have fun gardening!

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Vegetables being directly sown by seed into the garden

One Comment

  1. Hello Audrey,
    I just received the news that you and my nephew Will, have become engaged! I am Will’s Aunt Sue Crawford and I live in Woodlake, just minutes from you. Your blog is so impressive and I finally have a cowgirl in the family! I’m the only one on my side of the family and the Crawford side of the family that loves horses, well actually all kinds of animals. Before Will’s Uncle Jim passed away we rescued dogs, cats, turtles, horses, raptors, corvids, any critter that needed help. We were happy to do this for them, we neutered and spayed what we could and doctored what we could. We tried to find good homes for as many as we could be still kept many of the rescued animals. I am looking forward to meeting you and your family. Sincerely, Aunt Sue

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