How To: Direct Seed


The process of direct seeding (also called direct sowing) involves planting seeds in the garden, rather than buying small plants or starting seeds indoors earlier and transplanting them outside. This lesson will walk you through the steps of direct seeding so you are ready to direct seed something yourself!


10-30 minutes

  • Seeds from seed packets (seed student notes for a resource on which seeds to direct seed)
  • A container or location for planting.

Read through the steps of direct seeding. See the visuals for helpful tips. Also, check out our Instagram for a video story of the process of direct seeding:


Let’s plant! If you don’t have access to an outside space for direct seeding, no problem! You can plant in a variety of different containers, including a milk carton.

Steps for Direct Seeding
Step One

Fina a space to plant. Your space can be outside or in a garden container.

Step two

Prep Soil. Use a rake, hand fork or your hands to loosen soil. Break apart large soil clumps, and remove debris. Make sure your soil is watered and fairly saturated. You should be able to squeeze the soil in your hand and it should hold together.

Step Three

Choose your seeds. Seed packets provide you with so much information. See our lesson on How To: Read a Seed Packet to learn more.

Step Four

Mark out a line and make a dent in the soil where you want to plant. The rule of thumb is to plant at a depth equal to three times the seed diameter. If planting in a container, you can use your hand.

Step Five

Place seeds. You can also try planting seeds closer, dropping a seed every inch or two, and then thinning to suggested spacing once they have germinated.








Step Six

Cover seeds by pinching then patting down the soil.





Step Seven

Last step! Water!


Thin once plants have germinated. Thinning refers to the removal of some of the plants. Space out your seeds for optimal growth. This is an image of beets, which should be spaced 2-4 inches apart.

Student Notes

Disclaimer: All videos and references are used for educational purposes only. The Edible Schoolyard Project does not endorse any brands, labels, organizations, or businesses included in videos or references.

Notes for Teachers and Parents
  • This activity supports students in practicing creating: connecting food and gardening to what students are learning in the “classroom”.
  • This activity supports students to learn hard skills in growing and preparing food like knife technique, building a well-balanced compost pile, etc.
  • The lesson is a great extension from How To: Read a Seed Packet.

Authored by Raquel Vigil