List of Vegetables Requiring Direct Sowing

susanlynne48(OKC7a)March 4, 2012

I am looking for a list of vegetables (spring, summer, fall) that are best direct sown. There are bits of advice scattered throughout the forums, but if it's not too much trouble, a list of those that perform best as direct sown plants would be helpful to me, and maybe others. I can bookmark the thread to have handy when starting my seeds.

I know tomatos and peppers are best started inside. But, I realize there are those vegetables that either should be or are best sown in situ.

Thanks for your help! I FINALLY got my tomato and pepper seeds sown, and I know I'm late, but circumstances just got in the way of an early start.


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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


If you look at the Oklahoma Garden Planning Guide linked below, it lists for each vegetable if it can be grown from plants or seeds or both. If you go to the pages (3 and 4, I think) that list each vegetable, there's a column in about the middle of the page that lists seed, plants, crown, etc. as the generally accepted method of planting that veggie.

In general, root crops prefer direct-seeding, and as a pratical matter beans and corn are easy and quick to grow from direct-seeding. You can start pretty much anything you want in flats, but with root crops you have to transplant almost as soon as they sprout so you don't end up with deformed root growth.

Some of us start more seeds inside than we "have to" and one reason we do that is to get a head start on beating the heat by transplanting out 2 to 4 week old seedlings at the recommended planting date instead of direct-sowing at that time. When we first moved here, the only veggies I started inside from seed were tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Now I start a lot more inside just to get a jump on the hot weather, but it certainly isn't necessary to do so.


Here is a link that might be useful: Oklahoma Garden Planning Guide

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 12:22PM
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Thanks, Dawn!

Have you started your eggplant, summer squash, canteloupe/melons, or cucumbers (bush) inside yet? Or, is it way too early?

I notice the suggestion to direct sow Pumpkin, but wondered if it okay to start it indoors as well?


    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 5:08PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


You're welcome.

I haven't started anything inside except tomatoes and peppers, in terms of warm-season veggies, but the day I will do so is rapidly approaching. I don't have a specific date in my head for when I next will sow veggie seeds indoors, but one day the voice in my head will command me to do so, and then I will. Right now, I'm in the midst of sowing seeds of warm-season flowers and herbs in flats.

If I grew eggplant, which I generally don't because no one in my family likes it, I would have started it when I started tomatoes. Sometimes I do grow it just to give it away to people who like it, but I don't have room for it this year because I'm growing too many tomatoes and peppers.

With the veggies you listed, they all sprout and grow fast indoors, so I don't get in a big hurry to start them because I like to transplant them into the ground as soon as they have a true leaf or two, so I can't start them too early or the ground temps and air temps won't be ready for them when they reach that stage. While tomatoes, peppers and eggplant take a few weeks to reach transplanting size, cukes, squash and melons grow to transplant size much more quickly...probably in half the time or less.

Cantaloupes and muskmelons really need warm soil, so when I start them inside, they're almost alone on the shelf because everything else is already in the ground or outside hardening off. Remember that they go into the ground later than cukes, summer squash and pumpkins so you start the seeds later.

With pumpkins, all other things being equal, I'd just as soon start them in the ground. Remember how easily they sprout in compost piles, or just in a flower bed where last year's Halloween pumpkin sat all winter and rotted? There's not much of anything easier than direct-seeding pumpkins. They sprout quickly and grow quickly. If your goal is to have pumpkins for fall decoration or for carving for Halloween in October, look at your DTMs on your seed varieties and count backwards to figure out when to plant them. You don't want them all maturing in August if you want to have them for the grandkids to carve in October.

Because pumpkins and winter squash are prone to foliar diseases in humid periods, I often wait and direct seed them in June because May is usually our big rainy month here and planting them after that spares them the high May humidity. If June is dry, there's a good chance they won't have to deal with much humidity the rest of the summer.

When the voice in my head directs me to sow warm-season seeds inside under lights, I'll come back here and tell you that I've set the wheels (well, ok, set the seeds) in motion.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 5:55PM
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All of my "direct seeding" will be in pots/containers, so don't know if that makes a difference or not. The pumpkin I speak if is 'Windsor', a mini bush pie pumpkin.

I gusss I'll be patient. I feel like I need to take advantage of the time when I have it, but don't want to jump the gun either.

Will focus on my flowers/herbs instead, too. Thanks, again!


    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 6:07PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Susan, It does make a difference, and a strange difference. When you are growing in large containers, because they are above ground, they heat up more rapidly during the daytime which is a good thing for warm-season crops, of course. The downside is that since the containers are above-ground, they lack the insulation of the grade level soil as they are more exposed to air, so they get colder quicker at night and probably the soil temps drop below the in-ground soil temps. That's not good. When you grow something in a container, consider it one zone colder, so if you are zone 7b, your container is zone 6b at least until the cold nights are good and gone and forgotten. In the hot summer, it is the opposite--the container soil may get hotter than the grade-level soil. That's one reason why I always try to position my container plantings so they get some shade during the day--just so the plant roots don't cook on a day when the high is 100 or 105 or worse. It also is a good reason to use light-colored containers to reflect heat, although I prefer darker-colored containers for appearance. (White never seems to look white for long!)


    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 8:02PM
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