Yes plant in the soil and then mulch on top. Seeds like a constant level of moisture. In general I don't direct seed in the ground unless I already have the mulch ready, otherwise the soil dries out too fast and hampers germination. The seeds never have a problem pushing through a few inches of mulch. I like finer stuff like ground leaves or dry grass clippings at first and wood chips later when the first round has decomposed into the soil.