21 Vegetables and Flowers to Direct Sow in Raised Beds

Seed-starting can be intimidating for new gardeners. Especially when you consider the space requirements. However, with the following seeds, you can skip the indoor seed-starting step and head straight out to your raised beds! Gardening expert Kelli Klein shares 21 vegetables and flowers to direct sow in raised beds.

direct sow raised beds. Close-up of radish plants growing on a wooden raised bed. The radish plant showcases vibrant, green foliage with distinctive lobed leaves that form a rosette close to the soil. Below the surface, the roots develop into crisp, bulbous structures of a pinkish color. Radishes' roots exhibit a smooth texture and a rounded shape.


Direct sowing has many benefits in the garden. It eliminates the need for the hardening-off process, which includes bringing indoor plants outside for increasingly longer periods of time over the course of a week (or two) to expose them to the elements slowly. Once they are acclimated to conditions outdoors, they can be transplanted outside. Direct-sown seeds don’t need to go through this laborious process; they grow outside from the start! 

No transplanting also means no transplant shock. Some of the plants on this list have a long taproot that is sensitive to the disturbance that comes with transplanting. Additionally, it takes the guesswork out of timing your seed starting. In most cases, you can direct sow the seeds, and they will germinate when the conditions are just right. This will save room in your indoor seed starting setup for plants that take longer to germinate or benefit from heat mats, like peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes. 

Here are the best veggies and flowers for direct seeding!

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Close-up of a gardener in white gloves pulling ripe carrots from a raised bed in the garden. Carrot plants display feathery, fern-like foliage that emerges from a central stem, creating a delicate and airy appearance. The leaves are finely divided and arranged in a symmetrical pattern. Beneath the surface, the roots develop into slender, tapering orange carrots.
Ensure straight, healthy carrots by sowing seeds carefully.

When it comes to carrots, you eat the taproot of the plant. For this reason, you want to limit disturbance to the taproot during growth. Growing carrots in loose, sandy soil will encourage straight taproot development as well. Disturbing the small seedlings can result in deformed roots. 

To directly sow your carrots, dig a furrow, sprinkle in the carrot seeds, cover lightly with soil, and water them in. Additionally, place a board or burlap on top to keep the surface moist, which will aid in germination. Carrot seeds are sensitive to drying out and must stay consistently moist for 10-14 days. Once they have sprouted, thin to one carrot every few inches. Carrot thinnings can be eaten in a salad, used to make a carrot top pesto, fed to the chickens, or composted. 


Close-up of growing Beet plants in a sunny garden. Beet plants are distinguished by their lush, dark green foliage, which consists of large, heart-shaped leaves with prominent veins. These leaves grow in a rosette pattern close to the ground. The roots develop into plump, bulbous beets in shades of deep red.
For perfect beets, sow directly into raised beds and thin.

Like most root crops, beets do not like disturbance once the root has begun to size up. It is possible to transplant beets, but it is best to do it when the seedlings are very young. This can be tricky because young seedlings are particularly sensitive. To avoid all the hassle, direct sow your beets into your raised beds. 

Each beet “seed” is actually a cluster of seeds, meaning that the outer seed casing contains multiple seeds inside. Even though you only sow one “seed” per planting hole, two to six seeds can germinate in one place. You can let them grow clumped together for baby beets. But if big beautiful beets are your goal, then you’ll want to thin the seedlings to one per planting hole once they emerge. 


Close-up of a small wicker bowl containing freshly picked radishes on a wooden raised bed with growing radishes. Radish plants are characterized by their vibrant green foliage and crisp, elongated roots. The leaves are deeply lobed and textured, forming a lush canopy above the soil. The roots are characterized by plump and cylindrical radishes of pink color.
Swift-growing radishes thrive best sown directly.

This spring crop grows so quickly that there’s not much reason to start them indoors. Much like carrots, disturbance to their sensitive taproot can result in knotty or deformed radishes. Direct sow radishes as you would carrots. Dig a furrow, sprinkle in radish seeds, keep evenly moist for five to ten days, and thin them as they come up. Some varieties, like ‘Cherry Belle,’ are ready to harvest in as little as 24 days. 


Close-up of a raised bed with growing potato bushes. Potato plants are characterized by their lush and sprawling foliage, consisting of large, palmate leaves with serrated edges that grow on thick stems. The leaves are a vibrant green color, forming a dense canopy.
Plant seed potatoes for a bountiful underground harvest.

This might seem obvious, but there can be some confusion between seed potatoes and potatoes grown from seeds. Most often, gardeners will opt to grow from seed potatoes, which are potatoes saved from plants that were grown the year prior. Seed potatoes look just like a regular potato, except the eyes (buds) turn green and sprout. Once the eyes have sprouted, plant them directly into the soil. Each tuber will grow into a plant that will produce more tubers underground. Because of the intricate network of underground tubers that forms, it’s important to plant seed potatoes directly into your raised bed. 

Potatoes that are grown from seeds, however, can and should be started indoors. These are true seeds that require the attentiveness of indoor sowing. The potato plant will form flowers at the point in its life cycle just before the plant dies back and the tubers are ready to harvest. Some of these flowers, when pollinated, will form berries that contain seeds. Start potato seeds indoors and then transplant them outside to produce more tubers.


Close-up of Cilantro plants in a sunny garden. Cilantro plants are characterized by their delicate, fern-like foliage consisting of slender, serrated leaves that grow in clusters atop slender stems. The leaves are a vibrant green color.
Directly sow cilantro for lush foliage and beneficial insect attraction.

This leafy herb has a sensitive taproot. Transplanted cilantro seedlings tend to bolt (go to seed) prematurely. For this reason, directly sow cilantro into your raised beds. After all, most gardeners are growing this herb for its leafy green foliage.

However, you can also harvest the seeds to use as the spice called coriander. The small white flowers have their benefits as well. They are known to attract parasitic wasps and other predatory insects that can act as a natural pest control in your garden.  

Bachelor Buttons

Top view close-up of Bachelor's Buttons in bloom. Bachelor's Buttons, also known as cornflowers, are charming annual plants with slender stems and narrow, lance-shaped leaves. The foliage forms a bushy base from which tall, wiry stems rise, adorned with vibrant, daisy-like flowers in shades of blue. Each flower features a distinctive dark center.
Savor the beauty and flavor of cornflowers by direct sowing.

Sometimes referred to as cornflowers, these beautiful flowers are beloved by bees and gardeners alike. Not only are they beautiful, but they are edible as well! They are sensitive to root disturbance, and for this reason, it’s best to direct sow them into your raised beds.

Additionally, these seeds benefit from a period of cold stratification, which can more easily be accomplished when direct seeding outdoors. When seeding indoors, you’ll need to replicate this by placing your seeds in the refrigerator for a few weeks before planting. 


Close-up of flowering Nasturtium plants in a raised bed in a sunny garden. Nasturtiums are striking annual plants with vibrant, rounded leaves and cheerful, trumpet-shaped flowers. The leaves are large and circular, with a slightly wavy edge. Rising above the foliage on long, slender stems, the flowers bloom in an array of bold and bright colors, including fiery oranges and deep reds.
Celebrate both beauty and flavor with these versatile, edible flowers.

Not only are these flowers beautiful, but their foliage is as well! The leaves resemble small lily pads. All parts of this plant are edible, including the flowers, leaves, and seed pods. The flowers make a beautiful garnish, the leaves have a peppery bite, and the seed pods can be pickled and used like capers.

When growing nasturtiums, it’s important to consider that their roots are sensitive to disturbance. You can start them indoors and transplant them out, but you might want to opt for a biodegradable pot in order to limit any root disturbance. Direct sowing these seeds will help you avoid any potential problems.

Soak these large seeds overnight or up to 24 hours prior to planting to help aid germination. Still, they can take up to two weeks to germinate. They prefer growing in cooler temperatures rather than the heat of the summer, and seeds can germinate in soil temperatures as cool as 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit (13-18 degrees Celsius). 


Close-up of Poppies in bloom on a raised bed. Poppies are enchanting flowering plants characterized by their delicate, papery petals and distinctive foliage. The leaves are lobed and deeply serrated, forming a basal rosette at the plant's base. Rising from slender stems, the flowers bloom in a vibrant red. Each flower features crinkled petals surrounding a dark center, which contrasts beautifully against the surrounding hues.
Embrace effortless beauty by directly sowing poppy seeds outdoors.

Surface sow poppy seeds at the right time and ensure a period of cold stratification. This makes direct sowing in your raised beds an obvious choice for poppies. Their roots don’t like disturbance, so much so that it’s not recommended to start them in biodegradable pots either.

Scatter seeds in late fall or early spring and you’ll have poppies, well, popping up! Sow poppy seeds as early as four to six weeks before your average last frost date. 


Close-up of a woman with a bunch of freshly picked turnips in a sunny garden. Turnips are cool-season root vegetables characterized by their bulbous, round shape and smooth skin. The leaves of the turnip plant are broad, deeply lobed, and green. The bulbous roots are white with purple tops.
Opt for direct sowing to nurture thriving turnip crops.

As mentioned above, with similar root crops like carrots, radishes, and beets, turnips also don’t like to be transplanted. It is a best practice to direct sow turnips into your garden. Turnips also prefer cooler temperatures in which to germinate and grow.

Sow turnip seeds at least two to four weeks before your average last frost date. Seeds germinate best at temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18-27 degrees Celsius). 


Close-up of Rutabagas growing in soil. Rutabagas are hearty root vegetables distinguished by their smooth, round shape and purple skin.
Ensure a plentiful fall harvest by planting rutabaga seeds early.

This root crop has similar requirements to turnips, but with much longer days to maturity. Turnips will be ready to harvest in 30 to 40 days, while rutabaga needs 80-120 days to reach maturity. When planted in the spring, they will be ready to harvest in the fall, and they make an excellent storage crop for the winter.

These cold-tolerant roots can be sown very early in the spring. Direct sow rutabaga seeds in your raised beds four to six weeks before your average last frost date. The ideal soil temperature for germination is between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (16-27 degrees Celsius). In warm regions, you can sow rutabagas in mid-summer so they can mature in the cooler weather of fall and winter.


Close-up of Bean plants growing on a raised bed. Bean plants are characterized by their lush foliage and slender, vining stems. The leaves are broad, smooth, and heart-shaped, arranged alternately along the stem. It produces elongated pods of yellow-green color.
Plant pole beans directly near support structures for efficient growth.

Beans come in a range of varieties, but the two main types are bush beans and pole beans. Pole beans will need a structure to climb, while bush beans have a more compact growth habit. Direct seed pole beans alongside corn or sunflowers or a trellis. It’s harder to plant transplants as close to a structure as you can get a seed.

You can start beans indoors. However, much like peas, they have sensitive roots that don’t like disturbance. In warm soil, they germinate and grow quickly, so there’s not much reason to start them indoors. Direct sown beans will catch up and overtake transplants since they grow so fast. 


Close-up of Corn plants growing on a wooden raised bed in a garden. Corn plants are characterized by their tall, erect stems crowned with lush foliage. The leaves are long, slender, and ribbon-like, growing alternately along the length of the stem.
Ensure sturdy corn crops by direct sowing for wind resistance.

This vegetable can technically be transplanted. However, transplanted corn generally has a weaker root system. Because it grows so tall and so fast, a weak root system could lead it to be blown over by a wind storm. Direct sowing will result in a stable corn crop that will withstand the wind.

You need multiple corn plants for successful cross-pollination. You’ll need at least a four-foot by four-foot square area of plants. It’s much easier to directly sow this amount of seeds rather than raise the same amount of seedlings indoors and transplant them all out into the garden. 


Close-up of Pea plants on a wooden raised bed. Pea plants are characterized by their delicate vines and lush, green foliage. The leaves are compound, consisting of several pairs of oval leaflets arranged along a central stem. Pea plants produce slender, elongated pods that hang in clusters from the vine. Within these pods lie the plump and sweet peas, nestled in neat rows.
Handle peas with care and direct sow for best growth.

Peas have weak roots that don’t like disturbance. They can be started indoors, but avoid starting them too early so as to avoid the need for potting them up. Continually moving the plants will lead them to be stunted. Be sure to only move them once when transplanting them into the garden. 

Direct sowing them, however, allows you to sow them more densely. This is harder to achieve with transplanted seedlings. Soak seeds overnight in water or pre-sprout the seeds in a damp paper towel. Peas prefer cool weather and they will peter out as the weather heats up in the summer. Once they die back, you can take them out and replace them with a succession sowing of a fast-growing warm-weather crop like pole beans. 


Close-up of blooming sunflowers in the garden. Sunflowers are iconic annual plants known for their towering stems and large, vibrant flowers. The leaves are broad, rough-textured, and lance-shaped, arranged alternately along the stem. At the top of each sturdy stalk, sunflowers produce a single, daisy-like flower head characterized by a dark center disk surrounded by bright yellow petals.
Plant sunflowers directly to let them reach their full potential.

This is another flower that can also be sown indoors, but be sure to use a biodegradable pot to limit root disturbance. Sunflowers have a sensitive taproot that prefers to germinate in the same place it will grow. For this reason, transplanted sunflowers don’t grow as tall as their direct sown counterparts. This is especially important if you’re growing a mammoth variety where you would be growing it for its height. You can soak seeds overnight to help speed the germination of your direct-sown seeds. 

Morning Glory

Close-up of a blooming Morning glory flower with raindrops among green foliage. Morning glories are enchanting annual vines known for their heart-shaped leaves and trumpet-shaped flowers. The leaves are deep green. The flower is tubular in shape, with fused petals of a bright blue-purple hue and has a distinct star-shaped pattern at its center.
Plant morning glories directly to witness their daily beauty.

These wonderful flowers get their name from the fact that they open in the early morning and close back up as the day progresses. Morning glories are a voracious vine that readily self-seeds year after year.

However, in their young seedling stage, they are sensitive to root disturbance. For this reason, I recommend directly sowing them into your garden. Alternatively, if you have a very short growing season, you can sow them indoors in biodegradable pots to prevent root disturbance. 


Close-up of a blooming Moonflower plant among green foliage. Moonflowers are captivating nocturnal vines distinguished by their large, heart-shaped leaves and luminous, trumpet-shaped flowers. The leaves are a lush green color. The flower is large, tubular in shape, open, with white fused petals.
Directly sow moonflowers for nightly enchantment in your garden.

Moonflower is the nocturnal cousin to the morning glory. These white flowers bloom as the sun sets for the day and remain open into the evening. This provides a great pollen source for nocturnal and diurnal pollinators like moths, bats, and some beetles.

Much like morning glories, they are sensitive to root disturbance and prefer to be directly sown. However, you can opt to start them indoors in biodegradable pots. Sow these heat-loving vines one to two weeks after your average last frost date when the weather is consistently warm. 


Close-up of flowering Borage plants in a sunny garden. Borage is a charming herbaceous plant known for its vibrant blue, star-shaped flowers and bristly foliage. The leaves are large, oval-shaped, and covered in fine, prickly hairs, giving them a rough texture. Borage flowers bloom abundantly in clusters, each boasting five pointed petals that radiate from a central cone.
Invite bees with borage’s blue stars.

The small blue star-shaped flowers of borage act as a bee magnet in the garden. Plus, the flowers are edible and taste like cucumber! However, borage has a taproot that does not like being transplanted. In fact, I’ve attempted to, and failed, many times to relocate borage that has self-seeded in my garden.

It is possible to start them indoors, but use biodegradable pots. Or skip all the fuss and direct sow them into your raised beds. Once you plant borage in your garden, you’ll have it for years to come. It will go to seed and come back in the same area the following season. 


Close-up of growing dill plants in a sunny garden. Dill is an aromatic herb prized for its feathery, fern-like leaves. The leaves are finely divided and arranged in clusters along slender stems. Each leaf is composed of numerous thread-like segments, giving the plant a lacy and elegant appearance.
Plant dill in fall for butterflies and effortless spring growth.

This flavorful herb makes a great companion plant in the garden. Growing dill in the garden alongside garlic and cucumbers will result in delicious homegrown pickles. Its yellow umbel flowers attract predatory wasps into the garden. It is also one of the host plants for swallowtail butterflies.

However, it has a long taproot that does not transplant well. The seeds also benefit from a period of cold stratification and do best when directly sown in the fall. They will readily sprout next spring. If you let dill go to seed in your garden at the end of the growing season, it will come up on its own with no indoor seed starting required. 


Close-up of a Squash plant on a wooden raised bed. Squash plants are characterized by their large, broad leaves and sprawling vines that spread across the raised bed. The leaves are heart-shaped and deeply lobed, with a coarse texture and vibrant green color. It produces a large, cylindrical fruit with light green and beige stripes.
Sow squash seeds outdoors after your last frost for best growth.

Both winter and summer squashes are sensitive to root disturbance, though they can be started indoors in biodegradable pots. However, indoor seed squash starting is only beneficial in areas with a short growing season.

Squash seeds germinate quickly, and seedlings grow very fast, so there is little reason to start them indoors. Sow seeds outdoors one to two weeks after your average last frost date since they are very cold-sensitive. Use row fabric to protect from cool nights. Seeds will germinate within five to ten days. 


Close-up of a growing melon plant in a sunny garden. Melon plants are sprawling vines adorned with large, lobed leaves that have a coarse texture and vibrant green hue. The fruit of melon plant is large, round in shape with a rough green-beige skin.
Directly sow melon seeds for vigorous vine growth outdoors.

Melons like watermelons and cantaloupes prefer to be directly sown using a hilling method. Form a mound of soil with a depression in the center (like a volcano) and plant two to three seeds in the center of each mound.

The seeds germinate quickly. The vines will grow and sprawl quickly as well. For this reason, it is difficult to manage them indoors. Once the seedlings are a few inches tall, thin them out to one seedling per mound.  


Close-up of a Cucumber plant growing in a raised bed with orange brick lining. Cucumber plants are characterized by their sprawling vines, adorned with large, palmate leaves that have a coarse texture and bright green color. The leaves are arranged alternately along the vine. The fruits of cucumber plants are elongated and cylindrical, and have a pimply, glossy skin ranging from light to dark green.
Handle cucumbers delicately to minimize transplant shock for growth.

Cucumbers have extra sensitive roots. Transplanted cucumbers go through a period of transplant shock in which the plants cease growth for a few days, up to a week, before they resume growth. This is how a direct sown cucumber could potentially catch up to a transplanted cucumber in terms of growth.

Sow them directly below a trellis, spaced about eight to ten inches apart, one to two weeks after your average last frost date. 

Final Thoughts

Just because a vegetable or flower is on this list doesn’t mean that it can’t be started indoors. However, it does mean that there are benefits to direct sowing in your raised beds. Whether or not you choose to do so will depend on your individual space restrictions, time constraints, and irrigation setup.

But one thing is for sure: When you direct sow these vegetables and flowers in your raised beds, they will be more likely to not only survive, but thrive! 

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