Starting a New Garden from Seeds.
Whether you are first-timer starting your first garden or an expert starting a new garden, you might decide that you would like to start new plants from seed. Or, you may harvest seeds from your perennial plants and decide to grow new plants from your seeds. In either case, there are a few things you should know about starting seeds indoors.
Deciding When to Start the Seeds
First of all, you need to determine when is the best time to start growing the seeds indoors. This is determined by the type of seed you plan to grow, as well as when your area should receive its last frost. This information is determined by the zone your garden is in, as frost dates are provided as a range of when the first and the last one is expected for that area. After determining when the last expected frost date for your area is, check the back of the seed packet to determine how many weeks before this date you should plant the seed.
For example, if you live in Zone 6, which as a Frost Free Date Range from March 30 to April 30, and you want to plant broccoli, you will need to start the seeds about five to seven weeks before the frost free date. Therefore, you will count back seven weeks from March 30, which will be February 9. This means February 9 is the earliest you should start your broccoli seeds indoors. You may want to wait a bit longer, however, just to be safe. In general, it is a better practice to average the dates of your Frost Free Date Range in order to get a date of April 15. Then, count back seven weeks from there. This way, your young seedlings may only need to be held for a couple weeks before being planted outdoors rather than a month if you have a late spring.
The following list shows the Frost Free Date Range for each Zone:
- Zone 1: June1 – June 30
- Zone 2: May 1 – May 31
- Zone 3: May 1 – May31
- Zone 4: May 1 – May31
- Zone 5: March 30 – April30
- Zone 6: March 30 – April30
- Zone 7: March 30 – April30
- Zone 8: February 28 – March 30
- Zone 9: January 30 – February 28
- Zone 10: January 1 – January 31
- Zone 11 Frost Free Year Round
Use this information to create a planting schedule for all of the seeds you want to start indoors. Keep in mind, different seeds will require different start times. Therefore, your schedule may cover a span of several weeks in order to plant all of your seeds at the proper time.