Sunday, January 22, 2017

Indoor Seed Starting Calendar

Starting seeds in a biodegradable po

Sunday, January 22, 2017

I know it seems spring is a long way away this time of year.  Luckily for us gardeners we get to start spring early!  End of January into February is prime seed starting time indoors.  I have outlined by month the plant seeds to start indoors between now and April for our Zone 6/7 garden.  It is wonderful to see the little green sprouts shooting up with promise of a bountiful gardening season right around the corner!

Many big box stores will begin getting in their seeds as soon as the end of January.  The variety available in big box stores continues to expand as more and more of us are growing our own food.  If you are wanting something unique, try on line seed companies. Some of my favorites with a good selection of organic vegetables, garden fruits, and herbs-Abundant Life Seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, High Mowing Seeds, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Renee’s Garden, Seeds of Change, Territorial Seed Company, Cook’s Garden, Seeds from Italy, Botanical Interest.  If you are looking for a specific variety, Mother Earth News has a seed search engine that does a great job:  Mother Earth News seed/plant finder

Using seeds is a great way to accelerate your harvest by up to two months.  Seed packets tell you how far in advance of your last frost date to start your seeds indoors or when to plant outdoors for "direct sowing" in the garden.  Just look on the back. Here is a web page to look up your last frost date: Frost date look up

January and February are cold season crops seed starting time.  Cold season crops include your greens, broccoli, cabbage, strawberries and peas.

March and April is the time for warm season veggie and herbs to get their indoor start.  Summer veggies include beans, tomatoes, beans, basil, eggplant, peppers and squash.

10-12 weeks prior (end Jan/beginning of Feb in our Zone 6 garden)
Artichokes
Arugula
Bay
Broccoli
Cabbage
Catnip
Celery
Chives
Edamame
Endive 
Escarole
Fennel
Fenu
Horseradish
Leek, if starting from seed
Lettuce
Mache
Mint
Mizuna
Onions, if starting from seed
Parsley
Peas
Rhubarb
Shallots, if starting from seed
Strawberries
Summer savory
Sorrel

8-10 weeks prior (mid-February in our Zone 6 garden)
Bee balm
Celeriac
Eggplant
Kale
Kohlrabi
Lavender
Lovage
Marjoram
Mustard
Oregano
Rosemary
Scallions, if starting from seed
Spinach
Thyme
Turnips

Seedlings started in an Aerogarden hydroponic system

March
Artichokes
Broccoli
Chamomile
Chard
Cilantro
Comfrey
Fennel
Lemon verbena
Okra
Peppers
Raddichio
Sage
Summer squash
Tarragon
Tomatoes

April
Basil
Beans
Cucumber
Melon
Winter squash
Stevia

Another trick is to do succession seed starting.  For continuous harvests of veggies like broccoli, spinach and lettuce, start new seedlings every 3 weeks and plant out every three weeks in the garden.  For the early seedlings, use varieties that are described as cold hardy.  When you get to April, start seedlings that are heat tolerant.  Heat tolerant varieties will resist bolting and bitterness at the first sign of summer.  Get the most from your space-plant intensively!

You can also start perennial flowers and veggies indoors as well.  For any plant, look at the seed packet for when to plant outdoors according to your frost date.  Then back up the time from there on when to start indoors.  Typical seed starting is 6-8 weeks prior to the plant out date.  For more on perennial fruits and veggie gardens, Perennial veggies in the Midwest garden

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