The most important thing to know about gardening with seeds is that you must start with well-drained, nutritious soil. If your soil has too much clay, the water will puddle around the roots, causing root rot. If your soil has too much sand, the water will run right through, without leaving enough moisture for your plants after the seeds have germinated. It is tempting to rush in and plant the seeds, but if you take the time to amend the soil you will be greatly rewarded with strong, healthy plants.
Decide on a planting location. Vegetable seeds must be planted in a direct sun location. Flower seeds vary in the amount of shade or sun required for the best results. Check on the back of the flower packet to make sure you plant them in the proper sunlit location.
Dig up the soil down 12 to 18 inches. Turn the soil over with your shovel as you dig. Break up any dirt that remains in large clods. Remove twigs, roots, weeds and stones from the garden plot.
Place a 2-inch layer of compost over the top of the garden plot. Use your shovel to work the compost down and through the soil, until it is mixed thoroughly. Use your rake to even out the soil. Compost amends both sandy and clay soil. It also adds needed nutrition for plant growth.
Use a pencil to poke seeding holes in the soil for the flower seeds. Read the back of the seed package for depth directions. Each type of flower seed will require a different depth. Plop a seed in each hole. Cover the hole with soil. Vegetable seeds need garden rows for planting.
Create garden rows with the corner of your hoe. Draw a 3-inch deep line in the soil allowing the soil to fall to the inside of the row. Draw a second line approximately a foot parallel to the first one, letting the soil fall inside of the row. This creates a peaked line of soil in the middle of two long moats.
Read the packet directions for each type of seed. They will require various planting depths and spacing for the vegetable seeds. Poke holes into the top of the peaked line of soil, accordingly. Plop a seed in each hole. Cover the seed holes with soil.
Use a sprinkler hose nozzle attachment on your hose to gently sprinkle the freshly planted flower or vegetable seeds. If the spray is too harsh, the seeds can become unearthed. Check the garden plot at least twice a day for soil dryness. Seeds must be moist in order to germinate. Sprinkle the seedlings once a day unless temperatures are especially dry and hot.
Sprinkle the new seedlings until they are about an inch tall. Start watering in the moats, directly with the hose, at that time. Watering in the moats will encourage the tender seedling roots to grow downward toward the moisture, creating strong, stable plants.
Flower seeds must be sprinkled in the same manner. Continue to sprinkle or water directly with the hose after flower seedlings are an inch or taller.