Planting your garden from seed is a rewarding experience. Not only does planting from seed save you money, it gives you a sense of satisfaction when that first sprout appears. However, not every seed germinates. Ensure your seeds sprout and your sprouts break through the soil's surface to grow into healthy plants by knowing how to use seeds in the garden.
Prepare your garden soil before you sow your seeds. You may need to begin working on your garden the autumn before, tilling in compost or planting green manure to enrich your soil. Check and adjust the pH of your soil if necessary. In the spring before you plant, till the soil to create a soft bed for your seeds.
Plan your garden. Decide where each different crop will be planted. Some seeds of different crops can be sown together such as shallow roots with deep roots and fast growers with slow growers. Some seeds will need a trellis to grow on. To prevent the spread of disease, some seeds cannot be planted where other plants have grown.
Buy seeds that are fresh and have good viability and thorough planting instructions. If the company who sells them is willing to test the seeds for viability and willing to supply you with the best planting instructions as possible--you can expect the seeds will perform well. Additionally, choose seeds that should perform well in the space you have available for a garden.
Follow the depth planting instructions on your seed package, but space (rather than crowding) your seeds in the garden despite package instructions. Young plants that are not competing for nutrients will grow better. Package instructions will often have you plant close together and thin out later, but doing so will compromise young plants and possibly damage the roots of the plants you want to keep when you pull out the ones you do not want.
Use Popsicle sticks or the like to mark the variety of the seed and the date you have planted. This will help you to track whether the seed is growing as expected. This way, if your seeds do not sprout, you can re-plant and salvage as much as your growing season as possible.
Water your seeds thoroughly, but be careful not to over-water your garden which can result in seeds rotting rather than sprouting. Check the soil before watering. When the soil is dry, water deeply rather than frequently.