Seed sowing depth How to plant vegetables?

How deep should a seed be sown? How many centimeters do you have to bury the seeds to plant tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes and other garden plants? Why is seeding depth important and how does it affect?

Today we will try to answer all these questions to learn how to plant vegetables , the first step and one of the most important for the proper development of garden plants.

What is planting depth and why is it important?

The proper sowing depth is one that places the seed where it can absorb enough water for germination and not subsequently dry out .

The depth to which the seeds are buried in the soil during sowing is very important, since the time it takes for the plant to come to the surface and its vigor depends on this.

To sow horticultural crops (plants, in general, quite delicate), it is very important that the seeds are buried in the substrate at the right depth . As we will see throughout the post, this depth depends on the size of the seed.

If the sowing depth is not sufficient, that is, if the seeds are too shallow , it is very possible that they will not germinate, since the soil surface is drier and they may not be able to stay at the adequate humidity for long enough. If they do, the sprouts (much more delicate than the leaves) will come to the surface too soon and the plants can also dry out before they start to grow due to the dehydration of those first tissues or the roots.

On the contrary, what happens if a seed is sown too deep? If small seeds are sown too deep, the plant must use a lot of energy to reach the surface, so it will emerge weaker, without force, and will have less energy for leaf production.

As can be seen in the plants in the image (all from seeds sown on the same day), development is lower if the sowing depth is excessive compared to the size of the seed .

Plants from seeds sown more shallowly are larger and have more leaves than those that emerge from a greater depth. In the long term, these differences will be reflected in the yield and, therefore, in the number of fruits or seeds.

How deep to sow the seeds

To sow garden plants (both for sowing in seedbeds and for direct sowing in the final field), the seeds must each be introduced into a small hole or hole made in the ground and deposited on them a layer of soil that has a thick enough to protect them.

Each seed, depending on its size, has a different sowing depth . Broad beans or pumpkin seeds, for example, as they are larger, must be buried deeper than smaller ones such as tomato, lettuce or carrot seeds, which are buried closer to the surface.

The sowing depth depends on the size of the seeds . Generally speaking, the layer of soil that covers the seeds should be 2-3 times the size of the seeds .

If it is very hot and the top layer of the soil dries up too quickly, the seeds can be buried somewhat deeper, and the same if there are problems with birds that can eat them.

How deep is lettuce planted?

To plant lettuce , the seeds must be buried very close to the surface. Due to the small size of the seed and the roots, the sowing depth of lettuce is very small, 3 to 5 millimeters (it should never exceed 1 centimeter).

Tomato planting depth

To sow tomatoes, the first thing is to know how deep the tomato seed is sown . As we saw in the post on how to sow tomatoes step by step , the seeds must be buried at a depth of 2 or 3 times their size , that is, approximately half a centimeter from the surface .

It is important to make seedlings for germination and to have the plants a little overgrown before planting tomatoes in the garden or in the grow containers .

How deep are potatoes buried for sowing?

The sowing depth for potatoes should be around 6-8 cm. It is recommended to bury the potatoes at a shallow depth (4-5 cm) when the tubers already have sprouts and also in cold or fairly humid soils.

To plant potatoes , the whole potato can be dipped into the ground or broken into several portions and the pieces of potato buried where the buds or “eyebrows” are . (More details on planting potatoes in the post How to grow potatoes: Planting potatoes in 5 steps ).

Pumpkin Planting Depth

Pumpkins have quite large seeds compared to other vegetable seeds, hence the depth of sowing of the pumpkin is greater than that of other vegetables: the pumpkin seed will have to be buried about 3 cm from the surface of the soil .

The pumpkin is a creeping plant that spreads along the ground and needs a lot of space to develop, hence the distance between pumpkins or planting frame is also great. It is necessary, at least, a meter of distance between pumpkin seeds (50 cm in the case of dwarf varieties that spread less).

Planting depth of garden plants

The following table specifies the approximate depth to which the seeds of the garden plants must be buried as well as the time it will take for them to germinate.

Culture Sowing depth Germination time
Basil 2-4 mm 8-10 days
Chard 2-3 cm 10-15 days
Celery 3-5 mm 20-25 days
Garlic 4 cm 10-12 days
Eggplant 1-2 cm 10 days
Broccoli 3 mm 7-10 days
Zucchini 2-3 cm 5-8 days
Pumpkin 3 cm 6-10 days
Onion 3-4 mm 8-12 days
Cauliflower 3 mm 7-10 days
Spinach 2 cm 5-7 days
Broad beans 5-10 cm 10-20 days
Green beans 4 cm 6-10 days
Lettuce 3 mm 6-8 days
Corn 2-4 cm 6-8 days
Melon 2-3 cm 6-8 days
Potato 5-10 cm 6-12 days
Cucumber 2 cm 6-9 days
Pepper 4 mm 8-10 days
Leek 0.5-1 cm 10-14 days
Radish 2 cm 4-5 days
Beet 1-2 cm 8-10 days
Cabbage or cabbage 1-1.5 cm 5-8 days
Watermelon 2-4 cm 6-8 days
Tomato 0.5-1 cm 6-10 days
Carrot 1 cm 8-12 days

How to sow and plant in the garden

In addition to the depth of the seeds , there are other basics when sowing or planting. It is important to respect the sowing season (which is different in winter or spring-summer vegetables) and the realization of seedbeds .

Although it is not always necessary, the previous sowing of the seeds in seedbeds is recommended in many garden plants (especially in the most delicate or demanding ones) such as tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce or squash. Approximately a month and a half or two months after sowing, the seedlings will be transferred to the container or to the final ground by means of the transplant operation. In the post on how to make a seedbed step by step we saw more details about these first cultivation tasks.

Another important aspect when sowing or planting is the distance between plants in the garden .

The distance between plants (or distance between seeds, if direct sowing is done) must be sufficient so that neither the roots nor the leaves come together when the plants grow, so it depends on the size of the aerial part and the root system of the different vegetables . (More details on this in the post on Planting distances ).

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