How to Plant Seeds Outdoors


Planting seeds is the cheapest way to start a vegetable or flower garden. A gardener has two choices--plant seeds indoors in seed trays or pots and transplant to the garden later or plant directly outdoors. Starting seeds indoors is a good option for gardeners who live in colder climates with shorter growing seasons. Most plants do well starting either way. But planting indoors can be time-consuming and cost more, and a few plants actually are best started by seeding directly into the soil.

Step 1

Make sure your soil is moist. One day before planting, amend the garden or flower bed soil by adding a thin layer of starter fertilizer, manure or decayed compost. Use the rake to work mixture into the soil. Then give the area a deep watering.

Step 2

Using the edge of the hoe, make the rows where you will plant. For bulbs and root vegetables, use the garden spade to make individual holes a few inches apart. Vegetable and flower seed packets usually have planting instructions, including how deep your seeds should be planted. If you don't have the seed packets, plant the seed twice the depth of the size of the seed.

Step 3

Sow your seeds. Gently spread small seeds in the row you have marked. Drop larger seeds into the rows, making sure to leave about 2 to 6 inches between seeds for larger plants. The package instructions will provide spacing guidelines.

Step 4

Use a rake or hoe and to gently cover the seeds with soil.

Step 5

Tap down soil. Using your hand or the back of a hoe, firm the soil down. This prevents the soil and seeds from getting washed away during watering.

Step 6

Water the garden. Gently spray the planted area with water. Be careful not to wash away the seeds. Your newly planted garden will need daily watering to allow the seeds to germinate. Once you see sprouts, water as needed.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not let vegetable or flower beds dry out, even after the seeds have sprouted.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden or flower beds
  • Fertilizer, compost or manure
  • Water
  • Spade
  • Hoe
  • Rake
  • Seeds


  • "Planting the Seed: A Guide to Gardening"; Suzanne Winckler; 2002.
  • "The Vegetable Gardener's Bible"; Edward C. Smith; 2009.
Keywords: planting seeds, flower beds, small garden

About this Author

Carmel Perez Snyder is a freelance writer living in Florida. She attended the University of Missouri and has been a journalist for more than 12 years. Her work has appeared in the AARP Bulletin, the Oklahoma Gazette, the Amarillo Globe-News, and eHow.