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