How to Plant Seeds in the Garden


Many types of garden plants can be bought as seedlings or starts in your local nursery, but you'll pay a premium for the convenience of buying pre-grown plants. Save yourself money by direct-seeding into your garden. Not only is seeding usually cheaper, but you'll be able to witness the miracle of life as the seed germinates into a lush flower or vegetable under your careful tending.

Step 1

Wait for the last frost date in your area to pass. If you're not sure when this is, consult the Farmers' Almanac or your regional cooperative extension office.

Step 2

Use a spade and breakup the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. For seed germination, it's ideal to create a finely tilled seedbed with no large soil clumps, according to the University of Minnesota Extension.

Step 3

Amend the gardening area with 3 to 4 inches of compost--compost helps the soil retain moisture while improving drainage and increasing aeration--followed with a single application of an all-purpose garden fertilizer. Spread the fertilizer at the rate listed on its label, since potency varies widely by product.

Step 4

Plant the seeds. Bury each seed at the depth specified on the seed package. If you don't have a seed package, for instance when you collect seeds from existing flowers or vegetables, bury them approximately three times deeper than the seed's thickness, according to Iowa State University Extension.

Step 5

Water the planting area twice a day, being careful not to wash away the soil covering the seeds. Many vegetable crops will germinate within two to three weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Compost
  • All-purpose fertilizer
  • Seeds
  • Water


  • "Burpee: The Complete Vegetable & Herb Gardener"; Karan Cutler, et al.; 1997
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Planting the Vegetable Garden
  • Iowa State University Extension: Planting a Home Vegetable Garden

Who Can Help

  • University of Arizona Extension: Ideal Soil Temperatures for Seed Germination
  • Farmers' Almanac: Frost Freezing Calendar
  • USDA: Regional Cooperative Extension Offices
Keywords: planting garden seeds, planting vegetable garden, starting garden vegetables

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.