What seeds do I start outdoors, right in the ground?
Everyone differs on this; no rigid rules. Things I prefer to direct sow because it’s so easy include salad greens (lettuce, arugula and such); peas (as soon as the soil can be worked, about mid-March here); and spinach (either late fall for an extra-early crop, or very early spring); chard; broccoli raab; beets and other root crops; kales and collards; dill, and beans.
I like to direct sow pumpkins and squash and cucumbers, too, but the chipmunks often make off with the seed. And with the greens, there’s a tradeoff some years to direct-sowing, especially for me with the brassicas (the kale and collards), which can coincide sometimes with an upsurge in flea beetles, who eat tiny holes in things (they love arugula, too). Sometimes starting the plants indoors can outsmart the flea beetles, but growing them under a floating row cover will help, too. I never start peas or beans indoors; the rest I sometimes do, again, to cope with pests.