10 Vegetable Seeds to Direct Sow Right Now

Curious about starting seeds directly in your garden?

 

Let’s take a little break from the seed of the week to talk about direct sowing. It’s not too late to pick up seeds from our Seed Library! There are plenty of seeds that can be started now and sown directly in the ground outside.

 

We put together a list of ten seeds that we have in our seed library that can be started outside. What’s your favorite to grow?

Dill

Dill is easy to grow, and self-seeds easily. Dill is a versatile spice that is found in many dishes.

Pumpkin

A fall favorite, pumpkin seeds actually do better when planted directly in the garden.

Lettuce

Lettuce is cool season crop that does well sown in spring or late fall, directly in the garden.

Cilantro

A popular spice used in many Mexican dishes, cilantro is another cool season crop that can planted directly in the garden in the spring or fall.

Squash/Zucchini

Squash seedlings are sensitive to being transplanted, so direct sow is the best method to growing these veggies.

Spinach

Spinach is another vegetable that prefers the cooler weather. It will bolt as soon as the weather gets warm in summer. The Bloomsdale longstanding variety tends to withstand the heat better than other varieties.

Beans

Beans are an easy seed for beginners to grow. Beans start quick and are best started directly in the garden.

Peas

Peas are frost hardy, so they can be planted early.  Sow the seeds directly into your garden 4-6 weeks before your last frost date, once the soil is workable or in the fall in mid-August for a fall harvest.

Carrots

You should always direct sow carrots seeds because any type of root disturbance can lead to deformities. Always plant carrots in light fluffy soil.

Cucumber

Cucumbers are not fans of being transplanted, so it is better to plant seeds directly into your garden. Wait until the soil has fully warmed in the spring and plant in a sunny location.

Want more seeds? Check out our Seed Library!

With your Bensenville Community Public Library card, you may borrow up to five packets consisting of no more than two of each variety of seed. Each packet contains enough seeds to grow at least 3 plants. Please note that seeds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

2022 Seed List

2022 Seed Offerings

Below is a list of the BCPL Seed Library’s offerings for the 2022 season. Click on any seed for a photo and description; on that page, be sure to scroll down to “Links” where you can learn more about each seed’s growing information. You can also browse all of our seeds in the Library’s online catalog, by searching “BVD seed“. 

With your Bensenville Community Public Library card, you may borrow up to five packets consisting of no more than two of each variety of seed. Please note that seeds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

10 Easy Steps for Successfully Starting Seeds Indoors

Curious about starting seeds indoors? Some plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and Shasta daisies require a longer growing season than we have here in the Chicagoland area (we’re hardiness Zone 5B). To ensure healthy growth, many gardeners prefer to start seeds for these plants indoors in the spring. Starting your own seeds is not only less expensive than purchasing transplants, it is also very rewarding to watch your seeds grow into healthy full-grown productive plants. Plus, it’s fun! Here are our 10 easy steps for successfully starting seeds indoors:

Step 1

Check out seeds from the Bensenville Community Public Library’s seed library!

Or purchase seeds from a reputable company. For more information on the Library’s Seed Library, visit benlib.org/seed-library.

Check the seed packet for your hardiness zone to ensure that the seedlings with thrive in your area when transplanted outdoors. Most seeds are started indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date, which for our area is, on average, May 15th.

Step 2

Start with clean containers.

You can use recycled pots, such as empty, clean yogurt containers or disposable plastic cups. Although not necessary, commercial seed starting trays are a good choice and can be reused year after year. Mark each container with the name of what’s growing inside or it will be difficult to tell what is growing when the seeds begin to sprout. Place several small holes in the bottom of the container for drainage and ventilation.

Step 3

Fill each container with a quality seed staring mix.

A seed starting mix does not contain any actual soil, but it does provide an ideal condition for sprouting seeds. It provides a good balance of drainage versus water-holding capacity. Seed starting mixes also minimize problems with disease on susceptible seedlings.

If you can, avoid using garden soil or potting soil to start seeds. These don’t generally drain well and may contain plant disease spores. If you must use one of these, potting soil is your better bet. If possible, run some boiling water through your potting soil prior to use to kill any contaminants.

Step 4

Refer to each seed packet for planting instructions.

The seed packet contains valuable information — such as the proper planting depth, when to plant, or days to germinate. All the information you need for each plant should be on the packet. Need more info or lost your seed packet? A quick Google search (i.e. “marigold seed starting information”) will also get you the information you need.

Step 5

Cover those seeds!

Cover the top of the tray with the clear dome that came with your seed starting tray, or cover your pots with clear plastic wrap. This helps keep the potting soil moist. New seeds need to be kept warm; place seed trays or pots in a warm location, but out of direct sunlight.

For faster germination use a heating mat made specially for starting seeds under the tray or pots. Don’t have a heating mat? No problem, you can also sit the containers on top of a warm spot such as the top of the refrigerator. Check regularly for signs of growth. Once germination begins and seedlings start to sprout, remove the plastic wrap.

Step 6

Move your seedlings to a sunny location.

Seedlings need water, air, and light to thrive. Place your seedlings in a bright, sunny location — or some gardeners choose to place their seedlings under supplemental grow lights. Make sure to water consistently, but do not overwater! Seedling roots need both air and water. Try to keep the mix moist but not saturated with water — think of it as a damp sponge that contains both water and air. Warmer temperatures are no longer necessary to continue growth, moderate temperatures with a good light source will help to grow thicker, sturdier seedlings.

Step 7

Thin your seedlings.

You will want to keep one seedling per pot, so choose the healthiest seedling and snip the rest of the seedlings off at the soil line. Thinning seedlings reduces competition for water and nutrients and allows for better air circulation between plants.

Step 8

Fertilize weekly!

Once your seedlings have one or two sets of true leaves (the true leaves will look more like what the plant’s leaves look like when mature), begin fertilizing with a half-strength, preferably organic, fertilizer once a week.

Step 9

Transplant as needed.

If you used a seed starting tray or smaller starter pots, it may be time to transplant your seedlings to larger pots to continue their growth. Seedlings are delicate, so move each one carefully to its larger individual pot and continue to water evenly and fertilize weekly. Place newly transplanted seedlings out of direct sun for a few days to allow the seedlings to acclimate to their new environment.

Step 10

Harden off seedlings before placing outside.

Hardening off is the process by which you slowly, over the course of 1-2 weeks, acclimate your seedlings to the final environment in which they will live. Place plants outside each day during daylight hours in a shaded, protected place. Gradually increase this time outdoors for 1-2 weeks prior to transplanting outside.

Regardless of the type of seeds you're planting, keep these simple steps for how to grow seeds indoors and you will be rewarded with a plentiful garden each year. Happy planting!