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

45 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. J.E. March 23, 2012 at 8:36 am -

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

  2. Mandy Malagón March 23, 2012 at 8:39 am -

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

  3. Mike Lieberman March 23, 2012 at 8:51 am -


  4. Mike Lieberman March 23, 2012 at 8:51 am -

    Total sense.

  5. Anne Pandian March 23, 2012 at 9:19 am -

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

  6. Winona March 23, 2012 at 9:21 am -

    dill and garlic

  7. Sandy Stites March 23, 2012 at 9:24 am -

    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.

  8. Mary C. March 23, 2012 at 9:42 am -

    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.

  9. danielle3313 March 23, 2012 at 10:01 am -

    Im doing garlic and onions!!!!

  10. Danelle3313 March 23, 2012 at 10:03 am -

    and dill as well

  11. LindaJean March 23, 2012 at 10:43 am -

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

  12. Rattard March 23, 2012 at 11:01 am -

    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! 

  13. Sheila de Salvo March 23, 2012 at 11:49 am -

    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.

  14. Dixied35 March 24, 2012 at 9:06 am -

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

  15. Mike Lieberman March 24, 2012 at 11:14 am -

    Very well could be.

  16. Mike Lieberman March 24, 2012 at 11:15 am -


  17. Mike Lieberman March 24, 2012 at 11:15 am -

    That certainly works.

  18. Mike Lieberman March 24, 2012 at 11:15 am -


  19. Mike Lieberman March 24, 2012 at 11:15 am -

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

  20. Mike Lieberman March 24, 2012 at 11:16 am -

    Nice. Dill is so fragile.

  21. SusieLee60 March 25, 2012 at 10:52 am -

    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! 🙂

  22. Kvleiva March 25, 2012 at 11:22 am -

    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,

  23. Dani Massey March 25, 2012 at 11:30 am -

    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?

  24. Susan March 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm -

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

  25. idzod March 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm -

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

  26. Mike Lieberman March 25, 2012 at 4:41 pm -

    Good luck!

  27. Mike Lieberman March 25, 2012 at 4:41 pm -

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

  28. Mike Lieberman March 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm -

    Experiment and see!

  29. Mike Lieberman March 25, 2012 at 4:43 pm -

    Are there GMO flowers?

  30. Mike Lieberman March 25, 2012 at 4:43 pm -

    Thanks for the tip.

  31. Sarah March 25, 2012 at 4:47 pm -

    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. 🙂

  32. Sarah March 25, 2012 at 4:51 pm -

    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!

  33. Mike Lieberman March 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm -

    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?

  34. SusieLee60 March 25, 2012 at 4:54 pm -

    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!

  35. Mike Lieberman March 25, 2012 at 11:05 pm -


  36. SusieLee60 March 26, 2012 at 6:13 am -

    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…

  37. SusieLee60 March 26, 2012 at 6:16 am -

    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!

  38. SusieLee60 March 26, 2012 at 6:21 am -

    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!

  39. Mike Lieberman March 26, 2012 at 9:09 am -

    Nice. Good stuff.

  40. Terri Hamilton April 2, 2012 at 8:50 am -

    Oops. Too late.

  41. Mike Lieberman April 2, 2012 at 9:23 am -

    All good.

  42. Angie S. May 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm -

    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. 🙂

  43. Katherine Marshall February 27, 2014 at 5:41 pm -

    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! 🙂

  44. Naughty farmer March 11, 2014 at 10:11 am -

    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.

  45. Naughty farmer March 11, 2014 at 10:13 am -

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

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