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Kitchen Gardening

How to Start a Vegetable Garden: Direct Sowing Vegetable Seeds

Steve Aitken, Danielle Sherry, Gary Junken, Kate Geruntho Frank, Cari Delahanty

So you’re wondering how to start a vegetable or kitchen garden? Not to worry. Our seven-video series, “How to Start a Vegetable Garden,” will help you get your first veggie venture off to a good start. We’ll cover the basics: choosing a location, preparing the soil, building raised beds, starting your seedlings, and planting your garden. This episode is about direct sowing vegetable seeds.

6. Direct Sowing Vegetable Seeds

Some seeds prefer to be sown outside directly into the ground, rather than being started indoors.

There are two different methods you can use when you’re directly sowing seeds into the garden: the hill method, and the trough method. The method you use will depend on what type of seed you’re sowing. Check the back of your seed packet if you’re not sure which method to use.

The hill method
Piling your soil into a mound ensures that it will heat up quickly, which can be beneficial for seeds that need very warm soil to germinate. If you’re using raised beds, you probably don’t have to sow your seeds into mounds since the soil is already elevated off the ground.

Pile the soil into a mound that is roughly 1-1/2 feet in diameter and 6 inches high.

Using your finger, poke three or four small holes, about two inches apart, in the top of the mound, planting one seed per hole. If you’re not sure how deep to plant the seeds, check the back of your seed packet.

Once the seeds are planted, water them gently. After the seeds have germinated, they will need to be thinned. Select one or two of the strongest seedlings to leave behind, and remove the weaker ones.

The trough method
This is probably the simplest way to plant seeds outdoors. Using two fingers, dig a very shallow trench. Then sprinkle the seeds lightly and evenly along the length of the trench. Gently push a thin layer of soil over the seeds to close up the trench you just dug. Make sure to check the back of the seed packet to see how deeply the seeds should be sown. Then water in your seeds gently so they’re evenly moist.

When your seedlings start to sprout, they will need to be thinned. Follow the directions on the back of your seed packet if you’re unsure of how to space your plants. Remove the weaker seedlings and leave behind the strongest.

See more videos in this series:

1. Selecting a Site

2. Testing Your Soil

3. Removing Sod and Vegetation

4. Building Raised Beds

5. Starting Seeds Indoors

6. Direct Sowing Vegetable Seeds
7. Planting Out

Learn more…
Find links to articles, blog posts, and videos on starting vegetable and flower seeds: All About Starting Seeds

View Comments


  1. user-7007446 03/21/2015

    Impressive video. Really a great explanation on direct sowing seeds. Thanks a lot.

  2. theurbanfarmer 06/08/2016

    Awesome, information! Those raised beds are beast!

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