|Sowing Seed Outdoors|
Vegetables and flowers for cutting should be sown in rows, while you may wish to plant flower beds in a free form. For planting in rows, mark your row first. A good way to make straight rows is to use string pulled taut and tied to a stick at either end of your row. In a vegetable garden, the rows should run north and south to make the most out of the sun and to prevent shading.
a. First, water the soil until it is thoroughly moist but not sticky wet. Let it settle a day or choose a day after Mother Nature has sent a rain shower.
b. Then, using a hoe, yardstick or some other straight edge, make shallow furrows in the prepared soil, about the thickness of the seed to be planted. The seed packet probably will give you information on this, and you can also find recommendations for specific species in the Plant Reference. The proper seed depth is critical to good germination and emergence. If the seeds are planted too shallow, they are susceptible to drying out and so will not germinate. If they are planted too deep, they may have problems with insufficient oxygen, or may not be strong enough to push through the soil. NOTE: Some smaller seeds, such as lettuce, prefer light to germinate and should barely be covered. Before sowing, check the Vegetable or Flower sections for this kind of information.
c. Sow the seeds thinly and evenly by tapping the seed packet with a pencil or your finger. Large seed can be placed by hand. After sowing, fill in the row with your fingers, or a tool, if the seeds are big enough for this kind of handling (corn, beans and squash for instance), and firm the soil. Seeds need close contact with the soil, and moisture, in order to germinate properly.
d. Label your planting! Use a pencil to write the name of the plant and the date on a wooden or plastic marker.
e. Wait for your seed to sprout!
NASA Seeds in Space
"Plants vary in their heat stress tolerance, not only from species to species, but also from cultivar to cultivar. In addition, unusual seasons-fewer or more hot days than normal-will invariably affect results in your garden, as will extremely dry or humid conditions," Dr. H. Marc Cathey, with Linda Bellamy, Heat-zone Gardening, How to choose plants that thrive in your region’s warmest weather.