Planting seeds outside

I always enjoy any seeds I required to start outdoors since they normally thrive with little effort from myself other than the occasional watering and given I live in the rainy Seattle area that does start until mid-June. Even if you have started many of your seeds indoors to extend your growing season some seeds should always start outdoors since they are sensitive to transplant shock. If you have been to a garden center or nursery lately you can get an idea by what types of plants can be transplanted easily. If you are now looking at your seed packets wondering if you should plant these indoors or outdoors here are my suggestions:
Plants that can be started indoors:
Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumbers, Cukes, Eggplant, Herbs, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Muskmelons, Onions (seed), Parsley, Peppers, Swiss Chard, Summer squash, Tomatoes, Zucchini

Plants that should be started outdoors:
Beans, Beets, Carrots, Cilantro, Corn, Cucumbers, Garlic, Muskmelons, Onions (sets), Peas, Potatoes, Radishes, Scallions, Spinach, Turnips, and Winter/Summer squash

You can see from the list there are some plants on both lists which shows that it is definitely possible to transplant some of these sensitive plants, but if you want to avoid the hassle and avoid killing a few plants without requiring surgical precision I would recommend opting for the direct seed planting approach.

Hopefully now you have an idea what you can plant so now comes how to actually do it. Your seed package which will normally give instructions something along the lines of planting the whole package of seeds in a row and thin out to the appropriate spacing. This has been the basic method that many gardeners have been doing for years. This normally leads to thinning 70% of the seedlings or so of the row, which is time consuming and since you can save seeds over a few years this method will definitely be more costly. To avoid this, I plant 1-2 seeds at the proper spacing, if the seeds have been saved for a couple years I add a couple extra seeds since even with proper seed storage the germination rates can decrease over time. After a week or two I simply thin the weakest of the seedlings by chopping them off with a small pair of scissors being careful to not disturb the seedling next to it. If you want to give your larger seeds a little head start, try soaking them in lukewarm water (add inoculants if they are in legume family) overnight before planting them.

Following these steps you should have some great activity in your garden with minimal maintenance and cost.

3 Responses to “Planting seeds outside”

  1. Jean Ann Says:

    I am actually starting my winter squash and muskmelons in the greenhouse, with the hopes that I will be able to get at least one yield this season…sometimes in Portland we get a long enough dry and warm spell that we get cucurbits, and sometimes we don’t…

  2. Steph Says:

    Great practical blog. We’ve got butternut squash, tomatoes and cukes coming up so far (here in S.C.), but as they still seem very precious, I’m resisting thinning them out. Have you ever been able to transplant the little “thin-out” successfully?

  3. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    I rarely let any seedling die without a fight…though the problem is I end up with more plants than I can keep indoors. This year I am being a little more violent and thinning out the week ones so I only end up with the number of plants I need to grow (with a few extra just in case)

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