Directly sowing seed into your garden requires healthy soil and irrigation. Seed your garden when the danger of frost has passed and the soil is sufficiently warm. You can broadcast your seeds into prepared beds or place them in holes. The size of the seeds, the growth characteristics of the plants and your personal approach to gardening will determine what works best for you.
Prepare your beds. Smooth the surface with the back of a metal rake. Moisten the beds but do not water deeply.
Broadcast the seed onto the surface of the bed. Sprinkle the seeds from the palm of your hand as you walk alongside the bed. Use this method for smaller seeds that are difficult to handle and for plants that grow together, such as bunch onions or zinnias.
Cover the seeded bed with a layer of soil no more than 1/2-inch thick. This layer of soil shouldn't be wet. Add a thin layer of mulch to cover the bed, then water it after two or three days.
Poke small holes 8 to 12 inches apart along the length of a moistened bed, depending on the growth characteristics of the plant. Use this method for larger seeds, such as snap-pea seeds or okra. The holes should be approximately 1 inch deep.
Drop three seeds in each hole and cover them with soil. Add a layer of mulch to the bed. Water the bed two to three days after seeding.
Monitor the beds for growth. Thin the smallest seedlings from the bed in which you used the broadcast method. Begin thinning when the seedlings are 2 to 3 inches tall. Ideally you want one plant every 5 to 7 inches, depending on the growth habits of what you planted.
Use the seed drill method as an alternative to broadcasting. Use a pitchfork to create vertical rows along the length of a prepared bed. Sprinkle seeds into the trenched soil and pull the soil from the sides of the trenches over the seeds. This method is more controlled than broadcasting and can result in less labor for thinning and weeding.