The Best Crops to Start as Direct-Sown Seeds

Discover which plants are best started as direct-sown seeds, plus find resources for learning when your area will have its final frost.

herb labels and seeds in pots

Some plants, like amaranth, beans and corn are best grown from direct-sown seeds.

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You may see the plants in this chart in seedling form at garden centers, but the experts at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds recommend planting these straight from seed instead, directly into your garden soil outside.

It is important to have at least a good guess about when your area will see its final frost of the season, because many seeds and plants can withstand only limited exposure to freezing temperatures. To make your best guess, ask gardening neighbors, call the university extension agency nearest you, ask at a garden supply store or consult the maps at NOAA.

CROP WHEN TO PLANT RELATIVE TO FINAL FROST
Amaranth 2 weeks after
Bean
1 to 2 weeks after
Beet 4 weeks before
Carrot
4 weeks before
Celeriac (celery root)
1 to 2 weeks afters
Chinese cabbage
4 weeks before
Corn 2 weeks after
Cowpea 1 to 2 weeks after
Cucumber 2 weeks after
Endive 4 weeks before
Kale 5 weeks before
Kohlrabi 5 weeks before
Lettuce (all types)
2 weeks before
Muskmelon
2 weeks after
Mustard 5 weeks before
Onion 6 weeks before
Peanut 2 weeks after
Pea (English)
4 weeks before
Potato 6 weeks before
Pumpkin
2 weeks after
Radish
4 weeks before
Spinach 5 weeks before
Squash
2 weeks after
Swiss chard 2 weeks before
Turnip 5 weeks before
Watermelon
2 weeks after

Learn more about seed starting in Should You Plant Seeds or Seedlings?