You’ll feel immense pride when you share your garden-to-table meals or homegrown floral bouquets with family and friends, knowing that the delicious salad or pretty posy began as tiny seeds grown by you!
When to Start Seeds
So, how do you know when it’s prime time for seed starting?
8 Tips for Timing Seed Starting
1. Decide What to Grow
2. Consider the Season
And cool-season flowers, like pansies and snapdragons, fill gardens with color and fragrance, so consider them when planning your floral displays.
3. Check Seed Needs
Scarification of seeds:
Stratification of seeds:
Some seeds, like tomatoes and peppers, germinate more quickly with the use of a heat mat to warm the soil. Consider adding a waterproof heat mat to your seed-starting supplies to speed germination and shave time off your seed-starting schedule.
4. Order Seeds Early
Make sure to take a look at the information on your seed packets when planning your seed starting schedule. Knowing how long seeds take to germinate and mature helps ensure the best time to start them inside.
Do you know that National Garden Bureau members include dozens of seed breeders and suppliers? When selecting seeds, make sure to visit these seed experts for the most high-quality, diverse selection of seeds available.
5. Find Your Area’s Last Frost Date for Spring and First Freeze Date for Fall
Plan around the frost dates but play it safe. For instance, if your last spring frost date is predicted to be April 18, consider waiting an extra week before planting tender crops, like tomatoes, in the garden.
You may also want to keep a frost cover or a few cloches on hand, in case a last cold burst makes an untimely appearance.
6. Use a Scheduling Tool to Start Seeds
Simply plug in your last frost date, hit enter, and the calculator tells you when to start each type of seed indoors. Easy peasy!
7. Add Time for Hardening Off
Before you add these carefully pampered plants to the garden, they need to harden off. Hardening off is a process of acclimating young plants grown indoors to outside conditions. Wind, intense sun, rain—your tender plants need to get used to the elements.
8. Extend Your Season with Succession Sowing
Download Johnny’s Succession Planting Calculator, enter your first frost date, and you’ll find an easy-to-follow succession sowing schedule for your garden.
A little planning goes a long way to ensure happy, healthy seedlings.
You’ll love the satisfaction of creating seed-to-fork dinners for your family and friends, knowing that those carefully nurtured seedlings resulted in a delicious harvest or beautiful homegrown bouquet.
Enjoy your seed-starting adventures!
Join our Ask the Experts about Seed Starting Webinar on March 10 at 12:00 PM CST.
Learn some of the tips and tricks for successful seed starting from some of the best experts in the business!
Can’t attend live? No problem. Register and you will receive a link to the recording.
Founded more than 100 years ago, the National Garden Bureau educates, inspires, and motivates people to grow home gardens. National Garden Bureau members are horticultural experts, and the information shared with you comes directly from these experts to ensure your gardening success.