Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How To Plant Seeds in the Ground

By Julia Margaret ; Updated September 21, 2017
Seeds come in all shapes and sizes for planting.

Experienced gardeners, who have a limited gardening budget, save money by planting from seed. Planting seeds directly in the ground eliminates the time, expense and trouble of starting seeds indoors. There's no need to buy peat pots, potting mix and grow lights, and you save on the cost of electricity. Starting seeds indoors also requires space that may be difficult to arrange. Every gardener can successfully plant seeds in the ground and reap an abundance of vegetables and flowers.

Germination of seeds requires warm soil.

Wait until after the last frost to plant any seeds. The soil temperature should be between 50 and 60 degrees F. To play it safe, you may purchase a soil thermometer at any garden center or online.

Mix soil and amendment in raised beds.

Amend the soil if needed. Vegetables and flower seeds do best in well-drained, organic soil. If you don't have the right soil conditions, amend the soil with compost. If your soil is extremely poor, you may want to build raised beds.

Beans will need supports to climb.

Planting depth can vary with different seeds, so be sure to read the seed packet.

Crookneck squash can be harvested in 41 days.

Plant crookneck squash seeds on hills. Build the hills 9 to 12 inches tall and 2 feet across. Plant three seeds 1 inch deep spaced evenly over the hill. Space hills 3 to 4 feet apart. Thin seeds when plants are 3 inches tall. Keep the two strongest seedlings and pull out the weakest.

Turnips will be ready to harvest in 55 days.

Plant turnip seeds in trenches. Using a hoe or other garden tool, carve a 1/2 inch trench in soil. Plant two seeds together every 5 inches. When seedlings are 2 1/2 to 3 inches tall, thin to one plant every 5 inches.

Zinnias grow to 24 inches tall.

Plant zinnia seeds in average soil. Zinnias are easy-to-grow flowers. Sow seeds about 12 inches apart and 1/4 inch deep. Firm soil lightly and keep evenly moist. When seedlings are 1 to 2 inches tall, thin to 18 to 24 inches apart.

Black-eyed Susans are easy to grow wildflowers.

For Black-eyed Susans, broadcast the seeds differently than planting in neat rows. "Broadcast" means to toss seeds in a loose, naturalized manner. Cover the seeds with 1/4 inch of soil. Thin to 2 inches apart when plants are 2 inches tall.


Things You Will Need

  • Vegetable seeds
  • Flower seeds
  • Soil thermometer
  • Hoe or other garden tool


  • Keep soil moist at all times during the germination and seedling stage.


  • When watering seeds, be careful not to wash them away. Use a low water spray.

About the Author


Julia Margaret writes for various online publications, specializing in gardening topics. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from California State University, Northridge, and studied horticulture at UCLA Extension. Margaret also holds a Master of Arts in special education.