4 Tips for Planting Seeds Outdoors in the Ground

Watch a short video

It’s time to plant cold hardy vegetables in the ground. Spinach, peas, carrots, parsnips, beets and lettuce can safely go in the soil now. Don’t be afraid of planting seeds – it’s less expensive than buying little six-packs of seedlings someone else has started and tended. And I find that there is great satisfaction in starting seeds in the ground. It makes me feel like a real gardener!

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Tip #1: Don’t Rototill Now! I clean up my garden in the fall and get rid of weeds and debris then. That makes it easier now. I don’t ever rototill the garden and especially warn against rototilling a wet garden – which most of us have now – as it can damage soil tilth and compact clumps of soil. I just use a garden fork to loosen the soil and my CobraHead weeder to fluff it some.

          Tip #2: Build wide raised beds. I keep my beds from year to year, creating beds that are about 24 to 30 inches wide and raised up about 6 inches above the walkways. How do I raise them up? I rake or hoe soil from the walkways into my beds, and I add compost every year. Raised beds dry out and warm up more quickly in the spring than a flat garden.

Fall garden in process of getting cleaned up for winter

 Tip #3: Read the seed packets! If the seeds are big, you may plant them an inch deep, but little seeds like carrots need just a quarter inch of cover or less. I like to define rows or bands, loosen the soil with my hand weeder, and sprinkle seeds on the soil surface. Then I take a handful of soil and rub it between my hands, allowing the fine soil particles to fall over the seeds. Pat the soil down to insure good contact between seed and soil. See a short video I made recently when planting parsnips

          Tip #4: Never let you seeds dry out! Right now soil is moist, but keep an eye on the beds if we have a few days of hot, dry weather.

          So buy some seeds, and go have fun.

I have 2 classes soon at the AVA Gallery, the first is Sculpting the Living Landscape: Vegetable Gardening on May 9. The next is May 16: Sculpting the Living Landscape: Flowering Plants. 

By the way, if you need someone to rescue your overgrown apple tree, I’m your guy – if you live in the Upper Valley. Call me at 603-543-1307 or e-mail me at henry.homeyer@comcast.net.  Or I can give you a private pruning lesson. I do blueberry pruning, too.

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