There is great satisfaction when you start your garden from seed. Watching your plants grow from seedling to harvest-ready is wonderful but it can be a very frustrating period if things don’t go as planned. We have a few tips if you want to start your garden from seed so your garden turns out just how you wanted.
There are 3 main things to know about starting seeds:
Plant your seeds in a very well-drained seedling potting mix. If you will be making your own soil mixture, be sure to add enough fluffy matter (ie: Vermiculite, Perlite, or Peat Moss) to keep the soil from getting too dense or water-logged while the seeds are still developing.
Perhaps the most difficult part of starting seeds is providing enough light. You do not want to burn the seeds but want to give enough light for them to grow. If possible, start your seeds in a warm room or (non-drafty) window area with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. If you need to supplement your existing light, use a plant grow light, which can be found at most hardware stores.
The soil used for germinating your seeds should be kept evenly moist but not soaking wet. Too much moisture will cause the seeds to rot. Using a fine mist sprayer or watering from the bottom are great methods.
TIMES TO SOW SEEDS INDOORS:
January pansies, violas, begonia bulbs
Early Feb geraniums, hardy herbs (parsley, thyme, lavender, etc.), dusty miller
Late February snapdragons, impatiens, gazanias, dianthus, take cuttings of fuchsia and geraniums
March petunias, ageratum, salvia, dwarf zinnias & marigolds, alyssum, verbena, seed dahlias, peppers, part of cabbage crop, cuttings of impatiens
Early April zinnias, lobelia, large marigolds, asters
Mid April tomatoes, rest of cabbage crop, annual herbs (dill, basil, etc.), large zinnias, eggplant
Late April/Early May cantaloupe, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelons, lettuce, spinach
June cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower for fall crops
download a PDF copy of our Seed Starting Schedule and start planning your garden today!
TIMES TO SOW OR PLANT OUTDOORS:
March 15th pea seed, potato eyes, onion sets
April 15th Set out: strawberry roots, asparagus roots;
Seed: broccoli, carrots, kohlrabi, radishes, lettuce, spinach;
Plant out: reg & Chinese cabbage, bunch onions, kohlrabi, swiss chard, wildflower seeds;
Plant hardy lily bulbs and lily-of-the-valley pips;
Transplant hardened off pansies, violas, and primrose plants.
April 23rd Set out plants: beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, strawberries, hardy herbs; Set out: perennial plants, rhubarb, all nursery stock; Plant: gladiolas and freesia bulbs; Transplant: hardened off alyssum and snapdragons
May 1st Seed: corn, beans, squash, pumpkin, lettuce; Transplant: lettuce, spinach, chard plants
May 15th Transplant: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons, eggplant, peanuts, okra, artichokes, pumpkin plants; Plant out: begonia, caladium, canna bulbs and container roses.
In general, it is safe to plant everything after May 15th. If long cold periods arrive in the spring time, cover your plants with a blanket to avoid frost damage.