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How to Plant Seeds Outdoors

By Carmel Perez Snyder ; Updated September 21, 2017
Some plants grow better when seeded directly into soil outdoors.
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Planting seeds is the cheapest way to start a vegetable or flower garden. A gardener has two choices--plant seeds indoors in seed trays or pots and transplant to the garden later or plant directly outdoors. Starting seeds indoors is a good option for gardeners who live in colder climates with shorter growing seasons. Most plants do well starting either way. But planting indoors can be time-consuming and cost more, and a few plants actually are best started by seeding directly into the soil.

Make sure your soil is moist. One day before planting, amend the garden or flower bed soil by adding a thin layer of starter fertilizer, manure or decayed compost. Use the rake to work mixture into the soil. Then give the area a deep watering.

Using the edge of the hoe, make the rows where you will plant. For bulbs and root vegetables, use the garden spade to make individual holes a few inches apart. Vegetable and flower seed packets usually have planting instructions, including how deep your seeds should be planted. If you don't have the seed packets, plant the seed twice the depth of the size of the seed.

Seeds also can be planted outdoors in pots.
Garden in spring image by Rose from Fotolia.com

Sow your seeds. Gently spread small seeds in the row you have marked. Drop larger seeds into the rows, making sure to leave about 2 to 6 inches between seeds for larger plants. The package instructions will provide spacing guidelines.

Use a rake or hoe and to gently cover the seeds with soil.

Plant vegetable seeds in rows.
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Tap down soil. Using your hand or the back of a hoe, firm the soil down. This prevents the soil and seeds from getting washed away during watering.

Use a garden hose or sprinkler to water your garden.
watering the garden image by Horticulture from Fotolia.com

Water the garden. Gently spray the planted area with water. Be careful not to wash away the seeds. Your newly planted garden will need daily watering to allow the seeds to germinate. Once you see sprouts, water as needed.


Things You Will Need

  • Garden or flower beds
  • Fertilizer, compost or manure
  • Water
  • Spade
  • Hoe
  • Rake
  • Seeds


  • If you have a small garden or patio, seeds can be planted outdoors in pots.
  • Thin out new plants such as carrots, radishes and turnips to give them room to grow.


  • Do not let vegetable or flower beds dry out, even after the seeds have sprouted.

About the Author


Carmel Perez Snyder is a freelance writer living in Texas. She attended the University of Missouri and has been a journalist and writer for more than 13 years. Her work has appeared in newspapers across the country, the AARP Bulletin and eHow Garden Guides.