Which Seeds to Direct Sow or Start Indoors?

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Which Seeds to Direct Sow or Start Indoors?

Recommendations for USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 11

Zones 3-5 have a larger range of seeds that should be started indoors based on the shorter growing season. Zones 6-11 can sow more seeds outdoors, as they have a longer growing season.

You can easily find your growing hardiness zone by searching: USDA Hardiness Zone and your zip code.


usda hardiness zones mapusda hardiness zones map

Zones 3-5: Seeds to Direct Sow

*Direct sowing seeds in these climates is often called ‘winter’ sowing. These seeds need to be really cold hardy.

  • Basil
  • Beans
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Mint
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard

Zones 3-5: Seeds to Start indoors

*The short growing season in these Zones means many plants need to be started indoors and transplanted to ensure the plants have a long enough growing season.

  • Most flowers and herbs
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplants
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkins
  • Lettuce
  • Melons
  • Okra
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini Squash

Zones 6-11: Seeds to Direct Sow

  • Basil
  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Black Eyed Susan
  • Carrots
  • Calendula
  • Chives
  • Corn
  • Cosmos
  • Cucumbers
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Greens
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Marigold
  • Melons
  • Nasturtium
  • Okra
  • Onion
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Sunflowers
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Zinnia

Zones 6-11: Seeds to Start Indoors

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Coleus
  • Eggplant
  • Lemon Balm
  • Oregano
  • Peppers
  • Petunia
  • Poppy
  • Tomatoes

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