Seeds You Don’t Want to Start Indoors

Posted on Mar 23 2012 - 1:23am by Mike Lieberman

We’ve talked about indoor seed starting and it’s advantages.

While it may be advantageous to start some seeds indoors, it’s not wise to do so with all seeds.

The general rule of thumb is if it grows underground, plant it directly.

Stick with that and you should be good.

Save yourself the hassle and plant these seeds directly in your containers.

Save yourself the hassle and plant these seeds directly in your containers. — Tweet This

  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Radishes

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Your turn

In the comment below let me know which of these will you be planting directly in your containers this year.

Photo courtesy of B.D.’s world on Flickr

  • J.E.

    All of them. We are doing a raised garden bed though. 

  • Mandy Malagón

    Thanks for letting me know. I guess it makes sense!

  • Mike Lieberman


  • Mike Lieberman

    Total sense.

  • Anne Pandian

    Is that why my turnips don’t get very big?

  • Winona

    dill and garlic

  • Sandy Stites

    You also want to plant corn, watermelon and Speghetti squash directly in the ground instead of starting the seeds indoors. I found lengthy stems such as watermelon and Speghetti squash break easy if you try to transplant them later on. I’ve personally killed many of those seedlings no mater how careful I try to be.

  • Mary C.

    beans, peas, carrots all definetly starting in their outdoor containers. Radishes I sprout in a little jar and then sow out in the garden for a little jump start.
    Beets are actually a root veggies that do ok with transplanting. So I sprout them like radishes then sow them in nursery flats unless I’ve already got a spot for them outside.
    Garlic and onions also transplant fine so I start them in nursery flats because it’s easier to keep them damp how they like until they’re a bit bigger and stronger. It’s also easy to sow them thickly in the nursery flat and then pick them apart later and save most of them, their roots aren’t so…. delicate.

  • danielle3313

    Im doing garlic and onions!!!!

  • Danelle3313

    and dill as well

  • LindaJean

    Tom Thumb peas look great started outdoors.Thanks for the list. Onions sound good.

  • Rattard

    I live in Fort Mill, SC and I planted radish about a month ago in containers on my deck and they are almost ready (I had to bring them in a couple of nights in Feb but they did great!  I also planted beans and heirloom purple carrots in containers recently and peas and onions in the raised bed garden about a montha ago.  I am so excited about my garden this year!  Now if I can just avoid the stink bugs this year! 

  • Sheila de Salvo

    I will be planting beats, peas and garlic from your list…but in large containers. Several other things but because of limited indoor space and no greenhouse I end up buying many seedlings.

  • Dixied35

    All of the above, in addition to turnips and hopfully, potatoes.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Very well could be.

  • Mike Lieberman


  • Mike Lieberman

    That certainly works.

  • Mike Lieberman


  • Mike Lieberman

    Damned stink bugs. What are you doing to get rid of them?

  • Mike Lieberman

    Nice. Dill is so fragile.

  • SusieLee60

    Whups! I have already started about 8 little lentil bean seedlings in a double handful of soil and that on top of several coffee filters and am now getting ready to transfer the whole coffee-filter kit’n kaboodle of seedlings en masse to a tree-pot sized foot-deep container! OH WELL! Wish me luck, dudes and dudettes! :)

  • Kvleiva

    Hi Mike. Thanks for this web site. My question is: how do I know when to start planting outside on my balcony? I live in Stockholm, Sweden, and the climate is similar to that of Chicago. We’re having an early spring — can I start now? Or better to wait another month?

    Thanks so much,

  • Dani Massey

    I have to do a transplant deal with my beans. We have feral  chickens in our neighborhood and my containers are on the ground. If I plant the beans directly, they become lunch for the darn chickens. They will eat carrion, no proof if the deceased animal was sick or not before it died. I’d harvest the silly birds but not knowing what they ARE eating daily vs what they WILL eat daily, I don’t think I want them on my dinner table.

    Carrot seeds and Radish seeds are too small to attract their notice so those will go right in the contain.  Word….around the edges of my tomato pots the dill will a bit of space, holds water in the soil by ‘shading’ it from sun and has shallower roots than tomato. However,  I don’t want them fighting with the tomatoes to get enough nutrients. Any thoughts on doing that? Is it a bad idea?

  • Susan

    Cucumbers, squash, melons, etc aren’t usually too happy about having their roots disturbed.

  • idzod

    is there a danger of  contamination from gmo flowers to organic herbs,fruit or vegetables?

  • Mike Lieberman

    Good luck!

  • Mike Lieberman

    General rule of thumb is wait until the nighttime temps are above 50 for about a week.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Experiment and see!

  • Mike Lieberman

    Are there GMO flowers?

  • Mike Lieberman

    Thanks for the tip.

  • Sarah

    I did beets, peas, garlic, & radishes directly into garden. Started dill, and pepper, & cucumber plants indoors… Can’t wait to get some beans going, too, don’t have those yet.  Strawberry plant still alive from last year (survived tiny snow)… Wanting to do more berries, blueberries, and if possible elderberry and cranberry… Someday soon hopefully some grapevines, too. :)

  • Sarah

    I love Dani’s idea, & her question, too.  I don’t know much about companion planing yet, or succession planting.  “….around the edges of my tomato pots the dill will a bit
    of space, holds water in the soil by ‘shading’ it from sun and has
    shallower roots than tomato. However,  I don’t want them fighting with
    the tomatoes to get enough nutrients. Any thoughts?”  But dill & tomato go great together in so many dishes & the smells would be heavenly in combination, too!  I want to start adding more herbs & flowers into these veggie and fruit gardens, so any tips would be welcome!

  • Mike Lieberman

    There are lots of options for companion planting, but when you’re first starting out why complicate things more than they need to be. Worry about companion planting once you get the basics down. Nah mean?

  • SusieLee60

    I just recently transferred my handful-of-lentil bean sprouts to a larger pot and put a 3-foot-tall stick inside one side of the lentils’ new “digs” :) Will take a picture as soon as the growing bean sprouts start wrapping their tendrils around their growing-stick :)  This is a fun-challenge for an on-the-floor potful of beans in front of my sliding-glass door!

  • Mike Lieberman


  • SusieLee60

    Okay here’s a day-after-transfer picture of the little-bitty-lentil-beany seedlings in their over-sized pot that’s lined all over the bottom with several layers of old (I don’t rake unless i “must”) leaves. The bean sprouts are already reaching for the tallow-tree stick I’ve put for them to climb on! Oh, that came out a bit dark…will post another…

  • SusieLee60

    Second picture of the little-bitty-lentil-beanies growing in their new-old pot inside, before the sliding-glass door with other potted items including three tiny orange trees and a foot-high avocado tree. Well, it’s a little less-dark than the other!

  • SusieLee60

    Here’s the day-after-transferred (to a large pot) little-bitty-lentil-beanies (it’s just fun to say! :) with their tiny tendrils reaching for an old tallow tree stick I’ve put for them to be able to climb on. The pot’s lined with several layers of old leaves from last fall and then has sandy dirt from my back yard. Keeping the edibles INside away from the local critters! I’d planted edible pansies last year and the wild rabbits found them and ate them right down to the roots!

  • Mike Lieberman

    Nice. Good stuff.

  • Terri Hamilton

    Oops. Too late.

  • Mike Lieberman

    All good.

  • Angie S.

    They can be started indoors in peat pots that can be planted directly in the ground without disturbing the roots, so you can still get a jump on the growing season. :)

  • Katherine Marshall

    I was given tomato seedlings (a friend started them early, and had too many) here in Oklahoma (zone 7) they usually say to wait until mid-April to plant. The seedlings are outgrowing their little pots and the windowsill, like, the biggest one is over 18 inches tall. The others are all taller than 1ft. Is it a problem to plant tomatoes a bit early? Any ideas how to keep them from dying until April? Thanks! I’m new to this! :)

  • Naughty farmer

    It all depends on when the last freeze is. If it gets close the freezing the plants will probably not make it. Since they are in containers you could always put them outside in containers for now and bring them in if there is a danger of freezing.

  • Naughty farmer

    And reporting them into larger containers would be good if you have the option.