What is Direct Sowing? Best Vegetables to Direct Sow in Your NJ Garden
Are you new to gardening? Then you may wonder what it means to direct-sow garden seeds. To direct-sow simply means planting your garden seeds outside in the soil, as opposed to planting them in little, peat-filled containers indoors.
Either method of planting seeds can be enjoyable. It just depends on how much time you want to devote to your gardening hobby.
Direct sowing (also known as direct seeding) is both easy and economical. A packet of seeds costs a few dollars at most, and comes with enough seeds to last for years. (Check our Seed Viability Chart if you need specifics on which types of seeds last for how long).
Direct sowing helps you save money because you don’t have to purchase seed-starting soil, pots or grow lights. It also helps you save time, because vegetables that can be direct-sown do not typically require much care. They can withstand variable temperatures to some degree, more so than more finicky plants like, say, peppers, that must be coddled for a while before they can live outdoors.
Direct sowing helps you save time. Plants that have been seeded directly into your garden won’t need to be re-planted into bigger pots. They won’t need to be hardened and then transplanted outdoors, either. So if you’re someone who wants to garden but doesn’t have a lot of time, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of being able to direct-sow seeds that grow into healthy plants without much effort on your part at all!
Direct-sown plants grow quickly. Many plants that are able to be direct-sown are fast to mature. So you can plant the seeds right outside, wait a month or two, and then begin to harvest and consume the fruits or the leaves of said plants, depending on what you grew.
Direct-sown veggies can extend your harvest. The plants that grow easily no matter what the weather is doing are also ideal to direct-sow in succession. For example, you can direct-sow a bed of lettuce, and in a couple of weeks you can decide to direct-sow more lettuce in a different area. By the time the first lettuces are finished producing, the second ones are coming up strong and ready to pick and enjoy. Same goes for beets!
Simply plant, water and wait. The only thing that direct-sown seeds require to grow is regular watering. The soil must be kept moist in order for the seeds to germinate. A quick walk past the garden on your way home from work or school, a check of the soil and a few minutes of spraying with the gardening hose… what could be easier?
Even if you’re lazy about it like I tend to be… direct-sown seeds will poke up out of the ground so long as Mother Nature is watering them for you. I was thinking about this recently after failing to water my newly planted pea seeds. I thought, well… eventually it will rain. They seeds will get watered then. It may take longer from them to sprout, but they will. And guess what!? They really did.
Direct sowing is fun for kids. The children can exclusively garden outside only, which greatly reduces the chance of them making a big mess in your house. (Although they may still find ways to mess up your house anyway – just not so much with dirt!) They will come to understand the miracle of nature simply by helping you poke holes into the garden soil and drop seeds in, then watching and waiting until the seeds burst from the ground. Exciting stuff indeed.
Here’s a list of garden plants that will be happy to be direct-sown in your garden:
Beans (pole beans or bush beans, including many varieties such as green beans, string beans, tiger beans, etc.)
Squash (summer and winter varieties – summer includes yellow squash, zucchini, pattypan squash. Winter includes hubbard, butternut, acorn, etc.)