Gardening – Direct Early Spring Sowing Tips

Have you often wondered whether you could get a head start on the spring season by sowing some seeds outside before the last frost?  Well, you actually can do just that if you consider a few precautions!

First, you want to choose seeds, which will take the cool to cold temperatures (hardy annuals, biennials and some perennials also) without being killed.  To do this check seed packages or catalogue descriptions for any of the following words or phrases:  can be direct sown early, hardy seeds, needs pre-chilling (freeze seeds, refrigerate seeds, stratify for x number of days/weeks), needs stratifications, reseeds readily, seedlings can withstand frost, self-sows, sow outdoors in early fall, sow outdoors in early Spring while frost may still occur, sow outdoors in Spring while evenings are still cool, sow outdoors in late Fall or early Winter, weed (such as butterfly wee, Joe pye weed, jewel weed), wildflower, will colonize.  Some of these treasures include amaranths, borage, cosmos, orach (red-leafed), which you can eat in a salad throughout the summer, then let it go to seed in autumn for a spectacular show), nigella, scarlet flax, and lavetera.

Second on you list is to decide where you would like your plants to appear when they actually take root and sprout.  To this end you shall draw up a plan.  Consider all aspects of your seeds (ie.  height, spread, sun and water requirements) before you mark your plan in stone and move on to the final step. Finally, on a nice clear day (without snow or rain) and preferably, but not only, once all snow is gone from your chosen plot, proceed to sow your seeds.   Ensure that you cover the seed in some way or at least scratch the soil after sowing, so the seed won’t lie exposed to birds and mice.

There you have it, your Direct Early Spring sown garden!  Now you just have to wait for the show!  Take care and keep growing!

2004, Rose Naomi Pickell, ARR in all media.


About the Author

Rose N. Pickell is a Horticultural Therapy Contractor, a published author and owner of TILTHY RICH.  Sign up for her free email newsletter, “Adaptable & Accessible” To learn more or to contact Rose directly, please visit or email her at