The Q&A Archives: Direct Sowing of Seeds

Question: I prefer to directly sow my flower seeds right into my garden, but I'm not having much luck with them. Do I need to put the seeds in the refrigerator first? Wait till the soil warms up? (I sowed the second week of May, here at our zone 5 home). Please, let me in on the secret tips!

Answer: Most seeds do not have a chilling requirement, so that's probably not the cause of poor germination in your garden beds. It's likely that the seeds were sown too deeply or the seedbed was allowed to dry out. Seeds are generally sown only 1 or 1 1/2 as deep as they are wide. If planted deeper, the sprouts will run out of energy before they can break the surface of the soil. Germinating seeds should not be allowed to dry out. Try to keep the bed moist at all times until the seedlings appear. To help matters along, you can sprinkle a shallow layer of peatmoss over the bed after sowing your seeds. One more problem you might encounter are birds. They seem to sense when seeds are planted and know just how deeply they need to peck to dig them out. If birds are getting the seeds, you may have to place floating row cover or some other barrier over the bed until the seedlings have emerged. Hope the above helps you find better success with your seed sowing.

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