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Easy Vegetables to Direct Sow in the Garden

Updated on June 19, 2013

Starting Vegetable Seeds

Many favorite vegetables like tomatoes and peppers are best planted outdoors as seedlings, but starting vegetable seeds by directly sowing them into the ground is a much better option for other vegetables.

In fact, some vegetables will actually do much better planted on-site, right where they will live and mature. This is because some plants don't like to be transplanted as much as others. To get the best possible results from your vegetable garden, plan to sow these seeds directly once the growing season has arrived.

When to Sow Vegetables

When you sow vegetable seeds is as important as how you sow them. To get it right, you first must know your average last frost date. It's important, when planting vegetables form seed, that you don't plant them too early or too late.

Raising healthy crops is easy when grown from seed, especially if you plant them at the right time. All you need is your favorite seed packet and a bit of time. From here, just follow the simple guide below.

Seed Sowing Helper

From Last Frost
Seeds to Direct Sow
5 Weeks Before
Broccoli, Cabbage, Peas, Spinach
4 Weeks Before
Cauliflower, Lettuce
3 Weeks Before
Beets, Carrots, Radishes
2 Weeks Before
Last Frost Date
Green Beans, Sweet Corn
1 Week After
Cucumbers, Melons
Some seeds can be sown over an extended period to make for a longer harvest. Good examples are carrots, radishes, lettuce, and green beans.

Easiest Vegetables to Direct Sow from Seed

Here are the vegetables that you should be sowing directly from seed first. If you have not raised a garden and want something easy, or just want to make sure that success is in your future, these plants are all very simple to grow well from seed and are not likely to disappoint.

Lettuce is very easy to grow, and is a work of art in the garden.
Lettuce is very easy to grow, and is a work of art in the garden. | Source

How to Plant Lettuce

This is really easy!

  1. Scatter seeds
  2. Lightly rake
  3. Water
  4. Done!

Leaf Lettuce

There is nothing quite like a fresh salad every day direct from the garden, and the great thing about this is that lettuce is one of the easiest plants to grow from seed that you will ever find. In fact, most people take far too long planting it.

Here's how to plant lettuce in about 1 minute. Simply level an area of the garden, open the seed packet, sprinkle seed around the area, and use a garden rake to agitate the soil somewhat so that the seed is mixed into the very top layer of soil. That's it! Sure, the seed packet may indicate that lettuce should be planted in rows under a thin layer of soil but that's just too much work.

Growing lettuce in an area instead of rows using this method works wonderfully, and planting is a breeze. Thinning is completely up to you. The lettuce will grow in a thick patch and produce right into the heat of summer. The fact that it is not in rows will prevent rain from splatting dirt on the leaves, reducing cleaning time. This looks really neat with different colors planted around in sections.

Tips for Best Peas

For maximum success:

  1. Plant early
  2. Offer a nearby fence


Peas are really fun to plant, and it's the easy to handle size that makes them so. They are also very easy to grow, and will reward you with a delicious harvest in early to mid summer.

Planting peas is as easy as creating a shallow trench with a hoe and dropping the seeds in at about 2 inches apart or so, then covering with dirt. It doesn't get much easier than this, and because pea seeds are not tiny, they are easy to handle.

To have success with peas, it's important to plant them at the right time. Peas need to be sown from seed early in the season. They are a cool season crop, and they really don't like heat. You want them growing quickly so that maturity will come before 90 degree days do. This is the first step to get right.

The other thing is that peas like to climb, but they need very small netting or wire fencing to climb. They won't grasp onto something too thick. They also won't lean to far to find a fence, so plant rows very close together so that a fence can be placed between them and be only an inch or so from each row. This will allow the peas to find the fence quickly, resulting in healthier plants and better air circulation.

Radishes may just be the easiest vegetable to grow from seed of all.
Radishes may just be the easiest vegetable to grow from seed of all. | Source

Radishes in Spring and Fall

Radishes beg to be planted twice. Plant in spring and again after the heat of summer is over.


if there is one seed that will make any person feel like they are a great gardener, it has to be the radish. This is one of the quickest plants to grow in the garden, and the results are fun and pretty. Radishes mature in under a month, and you really can't go wrong.

Plant radishes in the same manner as the lettuce above. Simply toss some seed around and use a rake to scrape the soil a bit. Give them some water and you're done. All that's needed after that is a drink once in a while and, before long, many radishes will be ready to eat.

Unlike lettuce, however, radishes don't like to be crowded, so don't spread the seed too aggressively, because the young plants will need to be thinned to 2 inches apart or so for good size. Thicker than that and you will just get lots of greens with very few large roots.

Radishes are cool season lovers, so plant them early and enjoy in early summer, then come back and plant in later summer for a fall harvest in a spot vacated by a summer vegetable.

Don't Overdo It!

Green beans are productive over a few weeks, so space rows a week apart and you will have a consumable harvest for a long time instead of being bombarded with beans all at once.

Green Beans

Growing green beans from seed is another easy choice for gardeners who want to make this easy. Like pea seeds, bean seeds are big and easy to handle, and they are planted in much the same way. A simple trench to place the seeds in will do, and planting is done very quickly.

Beans are a warm season crop, so one mistake that new gardeners tend to make is to plant them too early. Bean plants will grow pretty quickly, so don't push them too early in the season. Maturity can come in as little as 6 weeks, so you can wait until after the last frost date.

Another thing that will make harvesting beans more fun is to space them. By that I mean plant a row every week for a month, and then the harvest will be consistent for a longer period of time. This is usually better than a bumper crop all at once, unless you are looking to freeze them or have beans every day for two weeks. Bean plants will produce over a few weeks, so spacing the seed sowing out over a month means you will enjoy fresh beans for nearly two months or more.

Chard is simple, attractive, and an excellent addition to soup.
Chard is simple, attractive, and an excellent addition to soup. | Source

How to Eat Swiss Chard

Chard works in a salad, but it is excellent finely chopped and added for texture, flavor, and color in a healthy summer soup, especially with ingredients like beans and carrots.

Swiss Chard

There is something about chard in the garden that is just pretty. This is especially true if you grow the colorful variety with bright red and yellow stems. If you've never grown chard you should know that it's one of the easiest garden vegetables to grow from seed that you can find.

Growing chard from seed will work nearly any time of the summer. Unlike leaf lettuce, chard is much more comfortable in the summer sun, and as long as it has enough to drink and is continuously harvested, it will keep growing well.

Sowing chard seed is as easy as poking a couple of seeds into the soil with a finger tip in a small circle about 6-8 inches wide and then watering. This will produce a big mass of chard down the road which is quite attractive.

Chard is a great leafy green to use in main dishes, soups and stews. In fact, it is a staple in many of the summer soups that are made at my house, and is always in the garden ready to add color and texture to the soup bowl.

What are your favorites to plant from seed?

See results

Easy Vegetable Seed Sowing

There you have it. Transplants are much better for tomatoes and peppers, but for so many vegetables, sowing directly from seed is the way to go.

If you are looking for the easiest seeds to sow directly in the garden, these excellent choices will make you look like a professional gardener, and produce a healthy harvest at the same time.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Excellent tips and very useful hub!! As a beginner, I think your advice is simple and easy to follow :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Very informative Landocheese. You've included good information and easy to follow directions. I love your suggestions on how to plant lettuce. Great seed choices, nicely written.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.


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