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Sowing Seeds

Information about where to sow seed and methods of how sow seeds

How to sow seeds


Jump to:-   How to Sow Seeds  |  Where to sow seeds

Long gone are the days when the recommended method was to sow seeds in 10ft long rows. Of course, in certain circumstances, this is still a good method, however with space often at a premium, better results can be achieved using other sowing techniques.

This article also briefly touches on the options of where to sow seeds.

How to Sow Seeds


  • Try to sow seed on a dry day when there isn't much wind

  • Prepare the soil well beforehand, making sure the texture is as fine as possible with no large clods of earth

  • If rain is not expected, always water the ground after sowing seeds

Broadcasting seeds


Broadcasting SeedsThis is the best method when growing plants in blocks/groups, in smaller areas and in raised beds. Seed is scattered thinly over the whole surface where the crop is to grow, then covered with the appropriate amount of soil.

The emerging seedlings are then thinned to the relevant spacing on all sides of the plants thus producing a solid area of crops rather than rows. With many crops, a larger yield per area can be achieved.


When broadcasting seed, rake off the top 12mm/½ inch of soil, scatter the seed lightly and evenly over the surface then cover evenly with the removed soil. This can be done carefully with a rake or by using a garden sieve to sprinkle the displaced soil over the seed.



Sowing seeds in Rows

Seeds in RowsIf you have a large area or allotment, you may find it easier to sow in rows. You will have to leave plenty of walking space between each row so you can water and harvest without damaging the plants and a garden line will probably be needed to ensure the rows are reasonably straight. However, don't forget that rows don't have to be many feet long....even if you have a small area (say 60cm/2ft square) you can sow your seeds in rows if you prefer.

When sowing in rows, you should make a drill (shallow channel) with a hoe or stick to the correct depth, sprinkle the seed sparingly in the drill then use the earth which was formed along either side of the drill to cover the seed.

How deep to sow seeds

How deeply you sow seeds largely depends on the size of the seed and all seed packets will state the depth required. However, if you have obtained your seed by collection or if someone has given you seed, in general very small seed ( smaller than a pin-head) should be covered by 6mm/¼" of soil, seeds the size of a pin-head should be covered by 12mm/½" of soil and large seeds such as beans and peas should be covered by 2.5cm-5cm/1-2".

Where to Sow Seeds

Whilst most vegetable seeds can be sown directly where the plants are to grow, there are some which do better when sown elsewhere and then transplanted to their final growing place once the seedlings have grown on a little. The individual growing pages on this site give details of whether this is necessary, however below are some general guidelines.

Directly in situ

Most hardy vegetables can be sown directly where they are to grow. The soil should be well prepared and raked to a relatively fine tilth. To find out more about preparing plots and beds visit our Preparing ground for growing crops page.


Seed Beds (outdoors)

This is a small plot of land outdoors which is used to sow seeds which are going to be transplanted to their permanent position later on. It should be well prepared and raked to a very fine crumbly tilth before firming gently.  Brassicas such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli are often sown using this method.


Indoors (under protection)

Tender plants such as tomatoes and aubergines need protection and higher temperatures to germinate so sowing these seeds takes place indoors or in a greenhouse, sometimes with the aid of an electric propagator.  It's generally best to use a soilless sowing or potting compost and either seed trays which are sometimes divided into modules or small flower pots.


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