Many annuals, wildflowers, and vegetables can be seeded directly in the garden, either broadcast over a bed to give a planted-by-Nature look or sown in the traditional rows of a vegetable or cutting garden.
Many other plants, however, are best raised from seed sown in containers. These include slow-growing perennials, plants with expensive or very fine seed, and warm-season vegetables and annuals that you want to start when the garden soil is still too cold and wet for in-ground planting.
Flowers and vegetables to direct-sow
Certain easy-to-grow plants do best when sown directly in the garden, because they have delicate root systems or taproots that make successful transplantation from containers difficult.
Such plants include:
- sunflower (Helianthus)
- sweet pea (Lathyrus)
- love-in-a-mist (Nigella)
- nasturtium (Tropaeolum)
Whether you're sowing a wildflower mixture or several kinds of annuals for a showy border, start by preparing the soil. Remove weeds, then loosen the soil and work in amendments with a spading fork, shovel, or rototiller.
Add a complete fertilizer in the amount directed on the label. Finally, smooth the soil with a rake.
If rain doesn't do the job for you, moisten the bed thoroughly a few days before you intend to plant. At sowing time, the soil should be moist but not soggy.
Next: How to plant in rows