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Planting Seeds

How To Sow Seeds In The Soil You've Just Prepared

Meta Description: Once you have the soil prepared, planting is another critical stage of gardening. Read this post to learn how to sow seeds in soil and set your garden off to a good start.

Though vegetable and flower plants are available as seedlings at nurseries, the most devoted gardeners like to start their garden from seeds. Growing your garden from seeds is an excellent way to explore some exquisite varieties that aren't always available as transplants. Not to mention the satisfaction in planting a little seed, watching it turn into a beautiful plant, and enjoying the reward of your hard work at harvest time!

Continue reading, and you'll learn how to sow seeds in soil, give them the perfect conditions for germination, and care for the young plants until they are ready to go into the garden.

Types Of Seeds - What To Plant?

Whether you’re planting vegetables, flowers, or a mix of both, there are countless varieties to choose from. Even for a single species, like tomatoes, you’ll find a range of different types of seeds available. It’s important to know the difference so you can choose something that suits your needs.

Generally, seeds fall under the following categories:

●     Open-Pollinated

Open-pollinated seeds grow into plants that pollinate by natural means, including birds, insects, and wind. The superior flavors of the harvest make them a favored choice among gardeners.

●     Heirloom

Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated varieties that have been passed down generation in families. A seed has to be passed down at least 50 years, protected from cross-pollination with other varieties to be considered an heirloom. The plants grown from these seeds are "true to type," which means that they have the same characteristics as that of the parent plant. These time-tested, high-quality, historical varieties with authentic ages-old flavors are a favorite of many gardeners. 

●     Hybrid

Hybrid seeds are created through intentional or unintentional cross-pollination between different varieties. They'll grow healthy plants the first time, but any seeds you save from these plants will be unstable and aren't recommended for saving for the following seasons. You'll have to buy new seeds each year. 

●     GMO

GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) seeds aren't bred in a garden. Instead, they are genetically engineered in a lab to achieve some desirable properties such as disease resistance or higher yields. There are conflicting opinions regarding their use and safety for edible crops.

Sowing Inside VS Sowing Outside

Should you go for direct seed sowing in the garden, or should you start them indoors? What's the better option for your plants? It really depends on the plant you're growing and its requirements. Some varieties, particularly root vegetables, like carrots, beets, and radishes, don't like any disturbance to their roots, so you'll want to sow them directly in the garden for best results.

Some vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers take a considerable growing season but should not go in the garden until after the frost has passed. For such varieties, you can sow seeds in soil indoors in small pots to get a head start on the season and transplant the seedlings outdoors once the frost has passed.

Another advantage of indoor seed sowing is that you can protect the vulnerable sprouting seeds and seedlings from the outdoor elements and give them the optimal temperatures and moisture to thrive.

Seed Germination Guide - How To Plant Seeds

Following the seed planting steps provided below to start a healthy garden:

1.    Time Your Planting

Depending on the temperatures they prefer, different vegetables and flowers have their own planting times. The goal is to plant them such that the seedlings are healthy enough to go outside as soon as the weather is favorable for them. Here’s a table to show the right time to plant some of the important spring vegetables. Planting times are also mentioned on the seed packets.



Indoor Planting Time

Outdoor Planting Time


6 weeks before the last frost

2 weeks after last spring frost


4 to 6 weeks before the last frost

2 to 3 weeks after the last spring frost


6 to 8 weeks before the last frost

1 to 2 weeks after the last spring frost


Don’t start indoors

From 3 to 5 weeks before last spring frost


Don’t start indoors

1 to 2 weeks after last spring frost


8 to 6 weeks before last spring frost

4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost


2 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost

1 to 2 weeks after the last spring frost


2.    Set Up The Container

Seed starting trays or small peat pots are perfect for seed sowing. Make sure they have drainage holes at the base before filling them. Use a good sterile seed starting mix to fill the containers. Use a bucket to moisten them before filling the soil in pots.

3.    Sow Seeds In Soil

Check the instructions on the seed packet to know the correct planting depth of the variety. Some seeds, like tomatoes, are too small and shouldn't be planted more than ⅛ inch deep; otherwise, it will be harder for them to sprout. You can just drop such seeds and sprinkle a thin layer of soil over them. Larger seeds (e.g., sweet corn and sunflower) will need to be buried properly. Plant two to three seeds per pot. You can thin them to a single seedling per pot once they sprout. When sown in the garden, you'll need to ensure proper spacing according to what's recommended for the variety.

Taking Care Of Germinating Seeds

●     Warmth

Once you've planted the seeds, they'll need warmth for speedy germination. Different seeds have different preferred germination temperatures, but generally, 64°F is good. Place them over a heat mat set at a suitable temperature or over the refrigerator for a warm environment.

●     Light

As soon as they sprout, seedlings will need light. If they don't get enough light, their development will be leggy and weak. A south-facing window with full sun is best for your seedlings. If you don't have a bright window that gets lots of sunlight, place pots under artificial lighting. Place them a few inches above the seedlings, keeping them on for 15 hours every day.

●     Water

Maintain consistent moisture throughout the germination phase and the development of seedlings. Frequently spray the surface with a mister and prevent the soil surface from drying out. A dry surface will make it harder for the new sprouts to emerge from the soil.

●     Feeding

Seed starting mixes and potting mixes are generally low on nutrients and will only manage to keep the seeds nourished for the first few weeks. Start feeding with fish fertilizer at the recommended rates every few weeks until the seedlings are ready to go in the garden.

Hardening Off New Plants

Don't move the seedlings from a controlled indoor directly to the garden. The sudden change of sunlight, wind, and other elements can cause transplant shock in the young plants. Instead, take about a week to gradually transition them into the changed environment before setting them out permanently.

Start hardening off new plants by placing them outdoors in a partly shaded location for a few hours, bringing them inside for the night. Increase the number of hours spent outdoors and the exposure to wind and sunlight gradually until they are ready to be transplanted into the garden.


With this seed germination guide, you are ready to sow seeds in soil. Pick your favorite vegetables for the season and start an exciting gardening expedition!

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