Farmer planting seeds into fertile soil, closeup with space for text. Gardening time

What is direct sowing?

Direct sowing is when you plant seeds into the soil to germinate. In Alaska, our soil tends to take longer to warm up. This means that most plants will not do well being planted directly in the ground as seeds. However, some crops can germinate at temperatures between 45 and 55 degrees. These plants include root crops such as carrots, radishes, beets, and turnips. Other plants that can be directly sown include peas, spinach, arugula, and leafy greens. Most of these crops actually prefer to be directly sown into the ground and do not like to be transplanted (started indoors in containers).

If you are going to directly sow seeds, always make sure to follow instructions included on the seed packets. This will tell you the depth to plant the seed as well as how far apart to plant them. A general rule of thumb is to plant the seed at a depth 2-3x the width of the seed. Make sure with small seeds that you do not bury them too deep or they might not germinate. Keep the soil moist after planting, but not too wet (think of a wrung out sponge). Some small seeds are easier to plant close together and remove some of them as they begin to sprout. This process is referred to as thinning. Thinning your close together seedlings will allow for proper root growth and air flow for the remaining plants.