It’s fun to watch seeds grow indoors, whether we grow all our own flower and vegetable transplants, or just start a few tomato plants of a special variety we can’t buy locally. It’s not just about getting plants on the cheap; most of us will always buy most of our plants at our local garden centers. But garden centers can’t stock every one of the tens of thousands of possible varieties. If we want something special, sometimes we need to grow it ourselves. Plus, it’s a great hobby.
A key part of successful seed-starting is sowing seeds on the proper date.
Dates to start seeds indoors are determined by the date you plan to “set them out” (garden talk for transplanting into flowerbeds and gardens). Each plant type requires a certain number of weeks to grow from seed into usable transplants. In our region, prime outdoor planting dates are May 15 to May 25. By counting backwards the necessary number of weeks, we can establish indoor seeding dates for each type.
March 1-5 (10 weeks needed) – impatiens, petunia, snapdragon, lobelia, dusty miller, ageratum, coleus, vinca, verbena, fountain grass.
March 15-20 (8 weeks)– alyssum, dahlia, dianthus, salvia, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, eggplant.
April 1 (6 weeks) – tomato, lettuce, oregano, cleome, celosia, marigold, nicotiana, statice.
April 15-20 (4 weeks) – Cosmos, calendula, nasturtium, four o’clock, zinnia, basil.
May 1 (2 to 3 weeks) – squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, zucchini, watermelon, muskmelon.