One of the problems faced by so many home gardeners when starting a fall or summer garden is getting those so-called “winter” vegetable seeds to come up when planted during the heat of summer. Many popular, cold-hardy vegetables such as lettuce, carrots, broccoli, and others germinate poorly when the soil temperature is high. So, the home gardener is faced with the real problem of trying to get seeds to germinate and grow during harsh, unfavorable conditions.

One direct way to avoid this problem is to set out transplants. Transplant vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and
eggplants to insure production before frost occurs. Cold tolerant crops such as broccoli and cauliflower can be transplanted or seeded directly into the garden area. Broccoli and cauliflower transplants insure early production and properly spaced plants.

Seed most vegetables, not mentioned above, directly into the soil. It is important to provide a better environment for seeds to germinate and grow into healthy, vigorous seedlings. In most areas of Texas, bed the soil before planting. This is especially true for fall gardens in areas where excessive rain occurs during the fall gardening season. After the garden has been bedded and the rows marked off, use a hoe handle or stick to make a seed furrow. The seed furrow varies in-depth but usually is 3/4 to 1 inch deep.

Next comes a very important step. After the seed furrow has been made, use a watering can or water hose to apply water directly into the seed furrow. Apply sufficient water to wet the loosened soil to a depth of 2 or 3 inches. Always plant more seeds than needed. After the water has soaked in, scatter the seeds evenly along the furrow. After planting, do not cover the seeds with garden soil; use a material such as compost, potting soil, peat moss, or vermiculite for a covering. By using such a medium, a better environment is provided for seeds to germinate and grow.

This eliminates problems associated with soil crusting and poor aeration. Use a light-colored material for a cooler seeding area. With material like compost, seeding depth is still important but not critical. Small seeds planted a little too deep will still come up. In a few days, depending on the crop planted, seeds should germinate and begin to emerge. At this time do not allow the soil to dry out; apply additional water as needed.