Whether you’re growing your first plants from seed or you are well-seasoned (well done, you pro), learn how to best direct sow your seeds for great results.
Follow the steps below to direct sow in your garden.
1. Each seed has its preferred style
Direct sowing seeds into your garden is easily done, when you zone into what the particular seed needs, some like to be left on the surface, and some like to be buried, so check your packet to follow the seed guidance.
2. Soil preparation matters
To push success with direct sowing, you need soil with a fine consistency so roots can establish and push through. Seeds have a small amount of stored food, but it's not enough to sustain them until they emerge into the light. If the soil is heavy and clumpy, the emerging shoot will struggle to push through, leading to its failure. But with crumbly soil, the shoot can easily reach the light and get energy from the light.
3. Thinly space your seeds
It's crucial to sow your seeds thinly, aiming for about one and a half inches of spacing. Overcrowding can cause plants to compete for resources, resulting in rushed reproduction, leggy seedlings and short-lived wonders. Sowing large seeds individually is easy, but for small seeds, take a small pinch in your hand and quickly sow them in one sweep. Mark your progress to avoid missing spots.
4. Don't forget to thin the seedlings
As the seedlings grow, it's essential to thin them out to prevent overcrowding. When they're about an inch tall with leaves resembling the parent plant, get ruthless and leave one healthy plant every 10 cm or 4 inches. They're usually too small to transplant, so just pull them up and discard them.
5. Give plants ample space
Larger lettuces and many flowering hardy annuals benefit from generous spacing. Experimentation has shown that giving them more room leads to increased happiness and longevity. For example, spacing cosmos plants at 40cm apart results in larger roots, more foliage, increased photosynthetic potential, more flowers, and a longer lifespan.
6. Transplanting seedlings
Around eight to ten weeks after sowing, when the seedlings have complex root structures, they can survive being dug up and planted elsewhere. Water them well before and after transplanting.
By following these steps, you're equipped to successfully direct sow any hardy annual seed. Embrace the science, apply the knowledge, and enjoy the journey of direct sowing in your garden.