As anyone who has a green thumb will tell you, gardening is an activity that benefits your mind, body, and soul.
But, the one thing that many gardeners can’t seem to agree on is whether planting from seed is better than using transplants.
Our take is that each technique has its fair share of benefits and drawbacks.
Direct sowing, for instance, gives you more variety, helps you save money, and works better for certain crops that don’t do well with transplanting.
So the best thing you can do is to weigh the pros and cons of each approach and see which one works for you.
Our focus today is on direct sowing. More specifically, we’ll be looking at vegetables that are easiest to grow from seed, and how to care for them. Read on to learn more.
Which are the easiest vegetables to grow from seed?
Popularly referred to as beetroot, beets are a colorful crop, which fares best in cool weather. Specifically, it thrives in temperatures ranging between 50°F and 85°F (10 to 29°C).
It’s one of the easiest vegetables to grow from seed. In fact, sowing its seeds directly into the garden is often recommended because it does not like its roots to be disturbed.
For a plentiful yield, ensure you plant beets in full sun, exposing it to at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. It’s also a good idea to plant in rich soil, with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0.
Once you find the ideal substrate, sow its seeds about ½-inch deep. Ensure you leave ample space between the rows; 1- to 2-foot space is enough.
A quick tip: soak the seeds for about a day before planting. This can help to accelerate the germination process.
Add mulch occasionally and water as frequently as possible to keep the soil moist.
You might also want to cover the seeds after planting. Such a row cover is necessary to prevent beets from being attacked by pests like leaf miners.
After planting, wait for 7 to 8 weeks to harvest.
Looking for a vegetable that will make your garden look colorful? Radishes are your best bet.
When mature, they take on a wide range of shapes, colors, and sizes.
Those grown in spring and summer could be pink, red, white, or golden. Conversely, those grown in summer are a little darker and take longer to mature.
Worried that you’re not blessed with a green thumb? Well, you don’t need to be, because radishes are very easy to grow from their seeds.
All you need to do is place them underground, cover them with about a half-inch of soil, and that’s it. The only thing you’ll have to do is water and enjoy watching them grow.
Speaking of watering, this crop requires an inch of water per week. Water more frequently if you find that the soil drains too quickly.
As for temperature, maintain it between 40°F and 70°F (4°C to 21°C). Since it’s a cool-season plant, it prefers lower temperatures.
It can even tolerate a light frost. But this doesn’t mean you should expose it to these extremes. If exposed to a hard freeze for a long time, it might end up getting damaged.
Native to Europe, peas are one of Mother Nature’s true delicacies. Their most outstanding feature is the ease of growing them from seeds.
Start by soaking the pea seeds the night before your scheduled planting day. Next, sow them in suitable potting soil, about an inch deep.
If the soil is a bit dry, consider planting them slightly deeper. You’ll also need to space them about 2 inches apart. Now all that’s left to do is to water them.
With the seeds well-planted, there are just a couple of things you’ll need to monitor to ensure your pea plant grows healthily. The main requirements are exposure to full sun and moist soil.
Ensure your plants are getting between 4 and 6 hours of sunlight. They can also thrive in partially shaded areas, but complete shade isn’t recommended.
You should also keep the soil moist by giving it a good soak at least once a week.
A quick tip: always time the planting of your pea seeds correctly.
If you sow them too early, they might end up rotting in cold soil. However, if you wait until it gets too warm, the vines will have a really short bearing window.
4. Swiss Chard
You probably know Swiss chard from its celery-like white stalks, which contrast beautifully with the crop’s lush-green leaves.
It’s also known as the Rainbow chard, which is fitting given its stalks can be found in other colors, such as red, yellow, and orange.
And while it’s often neglected in favor of its more popular cousins- like spinach and beets- Swiss Chard is an equally nutritional vegetable. It’s also very easy to grow from seeds.
Speaking of, the best time to plant Swiss chard seeds is in early to mid-spring. Or, you can sow once you’re certain that the frost period has passed.
Before planting, improve the soil quality with fertilizer. You will also want to maintain the temperature at 40°F to 95°F (4°C to 35°C) although the optimum level is 85°F (29°C).
To sow its seeds, place them in the ground about ½ to 1 inch deep. Space the seeds leaving a gap of 2 to 6 inches.
It’s also advisable to space out the rows 18 inches apart. All you have to do now is watering the plant from time to time to keep the soil moist.
When it comes to harvesting, it’s best to treat this plant as a cut-and-come-back crop.
What this means is that you extract the older leaves only, and then leave the younger ones to continue growing for future harvests.
If you’re looking for a vegetable that fares well in warm weather, okra is an excellent choice. It has a long, and tube-like structure, which is why it’s also referred to as lady fingers (okra).
But what’s really intriguing about this nutritious veggie is its versatility. It can be prepared using so many cooking techniques that it’s almost difficult to keep count of.
You can grill, sauté, fry, boil, pan-roast, and more.
If you’re eager to add okra to your kitchen garden, you’re in luck because it’s quite easy to grow using its seeds.
Simply choose a suitable planting site, sow the seeds ½ inch deep, ensuring there’s an interval of 3 inches between the trenches. You’ll also want to distance the rows; preferably 3 feet apart.
With the seeds sown, all that’s left is to water the soil whenever it gets dry. Once your okra attains a height of about 4 inches, add mulching to your care routine.
This task offers two key benefits. One, it helps to conserve moisture, which minimizes the need to water. Two, it prevents the growth of weeds.
Throughout history, cucumbers have been used in a variety of dishes as well as for traditional medicine. It is no wonder so many homeowners are looking to incorporate it into their gardens.
Thankfully, it’s not that difficult to grow, especially if you’re growing it from seed.
Start by looking for the ideal planting site. Since it’s a summer crop, it fares best in warmer temperatures, specifically, a temperature ranging between 60°F and 75°F (16° to 24°C).
We don’t recommend planting your cucumber seeds if the soil is cooler than 60°F. The ideal growing medium also needs to be moist.
You can achieve this easily by watering the soil.
Once you’ve ensured that the soil meets these two conditions, push your cucumber seeds about 1 inch deep.
One thing you need to pay attention to when planting is spacing between the seeds. Here’s a quick guide:
- If planting the seeds in rows, then there should be a spacing of 10 to 12 inches between the seeds. The rows should also be distant, at least 18 to 24 inches apart
- If sowing in groups, plant 3 seeds in each hole, and then leave a space of about 18 inches between the seed groupings
Keep in mind that cucumbers are not fans of the transplanting process.
So the best thing to do is to sow them directly in the garden to avoid disturbing their root systems.
Once planted, your cucumber seeds should have reached maturity in the next 65 days or so.
A cool-season crop, parsnips are an excellent example of a root vegetable. Filled with an array of nutrients, they add a rich and slightly sweet flavor when added to soups and stews.
If you’re looking for a fancier way to enjoy these veggies, try slicing and serving them up as parsnip fries.
One reason why parsnips are a staple in most kitchen gardens is because of the ease of growing them.
Start by prepping your soil well. Loosen it up to a depth of about 12 inches and then work a 2-inch layer of compost into it.
Next, look for fresh parsnip seeds and plant them ½ inch deep, ensuring you don’t place more than 2 seeds per hole.
While they are easy to sow, parsnips require a little bit of work when it comes to maintenance.
For starters, they need frequent watering. This is crucial to ensure the crop develops strong, healthy roots.
Watering at a frequency of every 10 days or so will do your parsnip plant some good.
Parsnips also prefer full sun, although they can also tolerate partial shade.
These plants thrive in temperatures ranging from 45°F to 70°F (7°C to 21°C), but they’re not too picky about the air humidity present in their surroundings.
An example of a cruciferous vegetable, turnips are a nutrient powerhouse. They’re often added to soups and stews, and they provide a good dose of vitamin C, fibre and calcium.
The best part is that you don’t have to do much to enjoy these health perks. This is because turnips are among the easiest crops to grow from seed.
Here’s how to go about it.
Look for a suitable site. It should have well-draining, fertile soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0.
At the time of planting, the temperatures should be in the range of 40°F to 75°F (7 to 24°C).
Once the conditions are ideal, plant your turnip seeds a half-inch deep into the soil. Space them so that there are 3 to 20 of these seeds per foot.
Also, remember to water after planting, to accelerate germination.
Spacing is an integral part of this root vegetable’s planting. If you overcrowd the seeds, you will likely end up with very tiny roots.
Other than that, there’s not much you’ll have to do except to water frequently enough to keep the soil moist.
A quick tip: add a one-inch layer of compost to shield your turnips from sunburn.
Scientifically referred to as Spinacia oleracea, spinach is a herbaceous plant with dark green leaves that are arranged in a rosette.
Grown annually, this plant is loved for its edible leaves, which can be eaten raw or cooked.
Now, this is one of those plants that prefer direct seeding. But once you get started, you won’t have to do much caring for it.
Start by enriching the soil by applying 2 to 4 pounds of a well-balanced fertilizer per every 100 square feet of space. Next, place your spinach seeds ½ to 1 inch deep in the soil, then cover lightly.
You can plant up to 12 seeds per row, or you can choose to scatter them randomly on a wide bed.
Remember to check the soil’s temperature to ensure it’s ideal for planting your spinach seeds. The optimum temperature for this crop ranges between 45°F and 70°F (5-20°C).
Water immediately after planting and then regularly afterward. Once the seedlings sprout, thin them so that there are only 3 to 4 inches of space between them.
Zea mays, or as it’s popularly known, corn, is one of the most versatile crops to ever exist. It can be used for human consumption, as livestock feed, biofuel, and as a raw material.
Thus, it’s not surprising that corn is a favorite for many gardeners. Plus, it’s pretty easy to grow from seed. So much so that its germination rate stands at 75%.
Corn seeds should be sowed 1 inch deep if planted early and 2 inches deep if planted in the warmer temperatures of midsummer.
You can plant up to 3 seeds in one hole, but remember to space the holes between 7 and 15 inches.
When it comes to weather, this crop prefers warmer temperatures. Wait until the temperature of the soil reaches at least 60°F (16°C).
This will likely be 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost day in spring.
Other than maintaining the correct temperature, you’ll need to water your crop regularly so as to retain moisture in the soil.
When watering, focus on the base of your plant to ensure water reaches the roots. This also ensures that you don’t disturb the pollen on the upper section of your plant.
Also, important to note is that corn requires a bit of a nutrient boost, especially nitrogen.
So to boost your plant’s growth, side-dress it with aged compost when the stalks attain a height of about 10 inches.
You probably know carrots as orange-shaped vegetables, which are often added to stews and salads.
But did you know that this crop takes other colors too? That’s right; there are white, crimson, yellow, and even purple carrots!
But even more intriguing than color is the different varieties of carrots that exist, each with different root size and shape.
Chantenay, Ball-type, and Danvers carrots tend to have block-like shapes, and they can grow just fine in heavy soil.
But the Imperator and Nantes, which are the more popular ones, prefer loose soil.
Depending on the variety of carrots you’re planning to grow, you may want to incorporate aged compost which helps the soil to loosen.
In terms of timing, you can sow carrot seeds as early as three weeks before the last frost day. If you want a constant supply of carrots, then sow after every 2 to 3 weeks after the first planting.
After sowing, cover the seeds with ¼ to ½-inch of potting mix. This makes it easier for the seedlings to pop out.
You’ll also want to water your newly planted crop but go about this gently so that you don’t end up washing the seeds away.
Furthermore, ensure your crops are exposed to full sun.
While carrots can tolerate partial shade, they turn out sweeter and crunchier when grown in full sunlight.
A member of the Brassica family, collard is a cool-season crop that forms rosettes of leaves instead of heads.
The leaves are dark greens and they’re supported on very sturdy stems, which ought to be removed before eating.
This vegetable has a mild but distinct flavor; it’s almost like a cross between kale and cabbage.
An interesting fact about collard entails its hardiness. It can grow in a wide range of temperatures, and this is one factor that helps them survive in any climate.
If you live in a region that experiences hot summers, the best time to plant is in early spring, or as soon as the temperature reaches 45°F (7°C).
You can also choose to sow its seeds in the fall, but wait until the temperatures fall to 85°F (29°C) or below.
Choose a growing spot that’s exposed to full sunlight as opposed to partial shade; a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight is ideal.
When it comes to the growing medium, this veggie isn’t too fussy about the kind of soil as long as it’s well-draining.
And when sowing, place the seeds at least ⅛-inch deep and leave enough space between the rows (about 24 inches).
One of the things that makes this vegetable easy to grow from seeds is its quick maturity. It takes as little as 4 days for the seeds to germinate, although some can take up to 10 days.
Classified as a winter squash, pumpkin is mostly recognized for its deep yellow-to-orange hue.
It has a thick exterior, which houses the pulp and seeds; and it’s very easy to grow. It’s one of those vegetables that can thrive anywhere, provided it receives the right care.
Start by choosing a site exposed directly to the sun’s rays.
Next, sow the seeds in the pumpkin hills you’ve prepared; these are usually about the size of tiny pitcher mounds.
Place just 4 to 5 seeds per hill, and ensure the hills are 4 to 8 feet apart.
Within 10 days, the seeds should have germinated. However, remember to water your pumpkin plants regularly. Providing an inch of water each week is a good frequency.
While it’s not necessary, you can also add mulch to lock in moisture and keep weeds away. You might also want to apply a suitable fertilizer to sustain healthy growth.
Common among the East Asian cuisines, edamame is a type of green soybean, which is classified as a legume.
This warm-weather crop takes quite a while to grow from the seed to pod stage, in some cases up to 150 days.
On the brighter side, it’s one of the easiest to grow and harvest. If you want to enjoy homegrown edamame in your meals, there are a few factors you should consider when caring for it.
For starters, maintain the temperature in the range of 60 to 70°F (16 to 21°C). Next, choose a sunny spot, preferably one where your edamame will be exposed to full sun.
As for the soil, it should have good drainage and a slightly acidic pH of 6.0 to 6.5.
When you’re ready to plant, sow the seeds to a depth of 1 to 2 inches, and at least 3 inches apart. You will also need to space the rows so that they’re about 2 feet apart.
More importantly, remember to water this vegetable, especially during the growing season. Then when your crop is 4 inches tall, thin it out to encourage further growth.
Now all you’ll need to do is wait for the pods to turn a bright green color, which indicates that they’re ready for harvesting.
There are different approaches to gardening, and one of these entails planting seeds directly in a garden.
This offers several perks such as cost savings, flexibility in choosing crops, and control over what you grow.
That said, not every vegetable is suitable for direct sowing.
Examples of vegetables that can be grown from seed are beets, swiss chard, okra, spinach, corn, edamame, cucumbers, parsnips, turnips just to mention a few.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.