Direct Sowing Seeds

Certain seeds prefer being sown directly into prepared ground rather than sowing them into pots and transplanting them out once germinated.

seed sowing

Certain seeds prefer being sown directly into prepared ground rather than sowing them into pots and transplanting them out once germinated. It is usually indicated on the seed packet of different varieties if direct sowing is best. Roots crops such as carrots, onions and beetroot prefer direct sowing as to not compromise their roots. Bigger seeds such as peas and beans are easier sown directly in position. Seeds that are sown directly normally produce fast-growing and strong seedlings.


The easiest sowing method of all!

All root crops should be sown with the direct method to avoid misshapen roots and it’s perfect for large seeds like beans, peas and zucchinis too.

Begin by removing weeds and preparing the soil – break up any big clumps and evenly add some well-rotted organic matter or blood and bone. Don’t let small seed dry out in the first 10 days (until you see some green leaves). You can use shade cloth or hessian to keep the sun off but make sure this is removed after the seeds have germinated.

Try sowing into 10cm wire mesh – sowing is easy and the birds won’t steal your seeds!

Prepare the soil to an even crumbly texture.

  1. Sow LARGE seed evenly at recommended spacing and depth.
  2. Sow SMALL seed thinly and evenly.
  3. Cover the seed and gently water in.
  4. Once seedlings have at least two sets of true leaves, thin them to the recommended spacing.

Soil

soil preparation is important when sowing seed direct. Prepare the bed well, removing stones and breaking up large clumps. Add some fine compost to help get seeds going Remove any weeds, cultivate the soil well and make sure the soil is moist; not wet, not dry.

Pros and cons

Sowing seeds directly into position has its benefits- the roots can grow without the damage that comes with transplanting plants, there is no transplant shock and some plant varieties simply don’t transplant well. When direct sowing finer seed, a little extra work may need to be done thinning the seedlings out giving each plant room to grow. Young seedlings may still need some protection from harsh weather and pests.

Soil temperature

Timing is everything with direct sowing outdoors- the soil has to be at the right temperature for germination to take place and different species require different soil temperatures (this is usually indicated on the seed packet as to which season the seeds should be sown in).

Depth

The seeds should be planted about twice the depth of the size of the seed. For fine seeds, this means spreading them finely in a shallow furrow and can be covered with a fine layer of soil or seed-raising mix. For larger seeds plant them in holes to the correct size.

Mulching

Hold off on mulching until plants are up and out of the ground. If beds are already mulched, clear the mulch away from the row where seeds are to be planted.

 

Watch our video on how to sow seeds successfully.