Plant Vegetables From Seed

In recent years the trend has been to plant vegetables from started plants. That is a fine way to plant many vegetables. However, you can save money and often have just as good or better results planting seeds directly in the ground. All of the root and most leaf vegetables do best when planted from seed. All of these cold tolerant vegetables can be planted early and will sprout readily in cold soil. Peas sprout easily in cold soil and can be planted early. Wait until May to plant green beans.

Carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, parsnips and onions are often attacked by maggots. Maggots can be prevented by sprinkling a granular insecticide such as sevin over the seed before covering it with soil. I prefer diatomaceous earth, an organic material which works just as well. Root vegetables should be thinned to a spacing of 2 to 4 inches while plants are small.

There is no need to thin leaf lettuce spinach, kale, collards, and Swiss chard. They are best harvested when they are small and tender. I like to plant root and leaf vegetables in 6 to 12 inch wide strips, rather than single rows. You can grow more in a smaller space. My strips are often only a foot or two long which produces enough for two people. I save space to make a second or third planting later.

Tips on wide row planting and succession planting are included in my leaflet “Vegetable Gardening Tips.” This leaflet also contains charts for when, and how much to plant for different family sizes. Send me an email if you would like a copy of this leaflet. Or you can download it yourself from my web site: Just click on vegetables under the how to guide and scroll down to “vegetable gardening tips”


Allen Wilson

Allen has been writing about gardening for over 30 years. He is a retired professor of Horticulture.

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