A seed is a plant in its embryonic state. Seeds contain a tiny plant with its first two leaves, a root and protein to fuel the plant for its initial push into the sunlight. Plants remain dormant as seeds until they are given the proper conditions to sprout and grow. These include the proper temperatures, water and the correct soil depth. If a plant does not get all of these things, it will not grow into a healthy seedling.
Prepare a location to plant your seed that will give the seedling plant the proper sunlight and soil conditions. Most vegetable plants require at least six hours of full sunlight. Plants such as impatiens or hosta that are grown from seed require only partial sun for less than six hours. Break up the soil with a rake or rototiller. Spread soil amendments such as compost and peat moss over the soil and mix the amendments into the soil with a rake. If you plan to start your seed indoors, place a potting mix in a seedling tray and install a plant light over the tray so that it will receive the correct amount of sunlight.
Plant your seeds after the soil has warmed to the proper temperatures to facilitate germination. Plants such as broccoli and cabbage may be planted in late winter or early spring, while plants such as tomatoes should be planted in mid- to late spring after all danger of frost has passed. Plants may be started indoors with the help of a seed-warming mat placed beneath a seedling tray.
Open a furrow or drill hole in the soil with a dowel rod. The furrow or drill hole should be approximately two to four times as deep as the width of the seed at its widest point. Most commercially grown seeds will have exact planting depths printed on their labels.
Drop the seed into the bottom of the furrow or drill hole. Cover the seed with soil and water until the soil surrounding the seed is as damp as a wrung-out sponge. Watering a seed will help stimulate germination.