How to Plant Vegetable Seeds Outdoors

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Many vegetables grow well and produce bountiful crops from seeds planted directly into tilled soil, in either rows or hills. What you can plant depends on your climate and the length of your growing season; the method you use depends sometimes on the plant variety's preference and sometimes on yours.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden Hoses
  • Garden Rakes
  • Garden Trowels
  • Hoes
  • Seeds
  • Shovels
  • Watering Cans

To Plant in Rows

  • Read the information on the seed packet. It will tell you when to plant your seeds in your part of the country, which method to use, and how deep and how far apart to plant them.

  • Make a series of furrows using a garden hoe. Each one should be the depth recommended on the seed packet for the variety you intend to plant. In general, the larger the seed, the deeper it goes into the soil. For instance, beans should be planted about two inches deep; tiny carrot seeds, only 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.

  • Place the seeds in the furrow at the spacing recommended on the seed packet, and use the back of a rake to cover the seeds with loose soil.

  • Tamp the row very lightly with the back of the rake (you want the soil to be just firm enough that it won't blow away).

  • Water thoroughly but gently, using the fine-spray setting on a hose nozzle or a watering can with a fine spray.

To Plant in Hills

  • Gather soil with a hoe to form a mound 3 to 4 inches high and 12 to 18 inches across.

  • Use a stick or your finger to make a hole in the center of the mound to the depth recommended on the seed packet.

  • Drop two or three seeds into the hole, cover them with soil and press it with your hand or the back of a hoe just enough to ensure good contact with the seeds.

  • Water thoroughly but gently, using the fine-spray setting on a hose nozzle or a watering can with a fine spray.

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