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Seed Starting Time: Indoors and Out

We're at a point in the year where you start seeing seed starting kits, seeds, and seed starting soil at all the big box stores, home maintenance stores, and everything in between! Now more than ever there is an urgency in growing your own food. As produce prices skyrocket, people are turning to the home garden to help reduce their costs.

A great way to reduce cost is to start your plants from seed. It's super important to start your seeds at the right time to ensure that they have enough time to mature and produce a good harvest. Knowing your last frost date in your growing zone will help with the timing of starting seeds whether indoors or outdoors. Let's take a brief look at both...

Seed Starting Indoors

Starting seeds indoors is a great way to not only get a head start on the growing season but also those plants that take a long time to mature. When starting seeds indoors, it is important to provide the right conditions for your plants: adequate light, warmth, and moisture.

Indoor Seed Starting Guidelines

  • 6-10 weeks before the last frost date: tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and other warm-season crops that need a long growing season

  • 4-6 weeks before the last frost date: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and other cool season crops that can tolerate cooler temperatures and mature relatively quickly

  • 2-4 weeks before the last frost date: herbs, lettuce, and other crops that mature quickly and can be started later in the season

Seed Starting Outdoors

Starting seeds outdoors is a great option for crops that can tolerate cooler temperatures and don't need a long growing season. Right now, we're getting close to the cool growing season in the colder northern zones of the country. When starting seeds outdoors, it's important to have the soil loose and free of debris, have the soil moist not too wet, and make sure you have protection for your plants, if needed, with the fluctuations in temperature.

Outdoor Seed Starting Guidelines

  • 2-4 weeks before the last frost date: peas, spinach, lettuce, and other cool season crops that can tolerate frost and cooler temperatures

  • On the last frost date or shortly thereafter: beets, carrots, and other root crops that can be directly sown in the garden and prefer cooler temperatures

  • After the last frost date: warm season crops like beans, corn, and squash that can't tolerate frost and need warm soil and air temperatures to grow

Starting seeds at the right time is key to a successful garden. By following these basic guidelines and adjusting for your specific climate and growing conditions, you can start your seeds indoors and outdoors with confidence and enjoy a bountiful harvest!

*For a more detailed look at seed starting, check out my latest YouTube video " How to Start Seeds: The Basics and Beyond"!

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