Looking for an easy garden without the fuss of growing transplants?
Directly sowing your seeds into the ground can save the time and hassle of growing larger seedlings. Although it’s better to grow (or buy) certain crops as seedlings because they take more time to mature in the garden, there’s something to be said about the ease of just sowing your crops into the ground.
Most of the fruiting crops or heading brassicas need to be 6-10 weeks old before going into the garden, and many you won’t be able to harvest until mid-summer or fall. Other crops grow fast in the spring and you can harvest quickly from 30-60 days making them perfect or preferred for directly sowing.
Crops better grown as seedlings:
- Winter Squash/pumpkins
In general the roots should always be directly sown into the garden, although some people grow beets as seedlings. You can sow any of the brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage etc) into the garden as they tend to mature in about 3 months. The tomatoes & other fruiting crops however really benefit from being grown as transplants.
Cucumbers and zucchini can be either directly sown or grown as transplants because they mature and produce harvests in less time frame than tomatoes, peppers or winter squash. You do need to wait until after the ground has warmed up though and you’re in the clear of frosts before sowing these warm season crops. Your direct sown seedlings will also be about 3-4 weeks behind from the transplants and if you live in a short season growing climate then you’ll need transplants because of the reduced time frame.
Crops that are great for directly sowing into the garden:
In general here’s some of the crops that are easy or prefer to be directly sown into your garden.
- Swiss Chard
- Arugula, mache, mesclun greens
- Carrots – although lightly cover with soil
- Asian/Mustard greens
- Onion sets/bulbs
Crops that can be directly sown or grown as transplants:
- Zucchini/summer squash
- Cabbage/Kale/other brassicas
- Beans & peas (although they dislike root disturbance more than other plants)
If you’re a beginner gardener, going on vacation during the spring or summer or just wish for an easier garden then directly sowing your crops is easier than growing your own seedlings.19