How to Use Seeds in the Garden

Overview

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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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.

Tips and Warnings

  • Save the seeds you do not plant in the refrigerator. Put the seed packets with the unused portions in a sealed jar with rice at the bottom to absorb the moisture. Some types of seeds last longer than others. While spinach and parsnip seeds will only last one year, the seeds of carrots, cauliflower, beans, melons and tomatoes will last at least three years.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Green manure
  • Tiller
  • Soil pH test
  • Seeds
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Marker

References

  • The Daily Green: How to Plant Vegetable Seeds with Success
  • Hopkins Technology: Growing Vegetables in the Home Garden

Who Can Help

  • Ucdavis.edu: Using Those Leftover Garden Seeds
Keywords: garden seeds, grow from seed, plant seeds

About this Author

Em Connell McCarty has been writing for 27 years. She studied writing at the University of Iowa and at Hollins University in Virginia. She writes fiction, creative non-fiction and essays. McCarty's work has been published in Hip Mama magazine.