Have you ever wondered when to start seeds for a spring garden? When do I start my seeds is a question we hear all the time for newbie gardeners and even from people who are new to starting their garden from seeds. So we wanted to take a moment to gather everything we learned over the years about when to start seeds to answer your questions.
Starting a garden from seeds is wonderful because it gives you the ability to grow a greater variety of plants, you aren’t reliant on your local garden center and it gives you a way to earn a little extra income if you choose to sell some of your plant starts.
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When To Start Seeds For A Spring Garden
When to start seeds is going to strongly depend on your growing zone, to figure out what your growing zone is by using Burpees Growing Zone Finder. Here in middle Tennessee, we are growing zone 7A. Next, you’ll want to figure out when your last frost is predicted. To figure that out google your location and last frost.
Our last frost usually falls around March 23, but we can get a frost into April. Last but not least you’ll need to look at your seed packages for their grow time. This will help you figure out how many days they need before you transplant them out to the garden. Every garden plant has a slightly different growing season so this is really important.
Now that you are armed with your growing zone and last frost date it’s time to make a growing schedule for starting your seeds. Some plants like broccoli and greens can hold up to colder weather, while things like beans and tomatoes do not so keeping a growing schedule is great for making sure you have mature plants ready to go in the ground instead of leggy overgrown plants.
Is It Too Late To Start Seeds?
Nope! You can start seed any time of the year, just keep in mind how much growing time you still have and how long each individual seed takes to harvest.
When To Start Seeds Indoors
Starting seeds inside is a great way to jump-start your growing season when warm weather does arrive you have mature plants ready to go in the ground immediately- and it gives you a wider range of plant varieties to grow because you don’t have to rely on what stores have in stock [Needing a good resource on where to buy seeds, and what all those seed terms mean? Check out the post we did on where to buy seeds. Probably about 90% of what you plant to grow can be started indoors, under grow lights, in a window, or even in a greenhouse (if your greenhouse is unheated make sure to keep an eye on the weather so they don’t get too cold).
For cold-hardy plants that can handle a little frost generally start them 2-4 weeks before your last frost date. Again this is going to vary a little by where you live, and the varieties you grow.
For plants that need warm weather, you’ll want to start seeds 1-2 weeks before your last frost date. That way by the time they are ready for transplanting, the ground has warmed up and they can thrive.
When To Start Seeds Outdoors
When to start seeds outdoors will again depend on your growing zone and the type of plant you are growing. Everything but cold-hardy veggies shouldn’t be planted until the soil has warmed up and your last frost date has passed.
When Should You Start Seeds For A Fall Garden?
To figure out when to start seeds for a fall garden, take your first frost date and count back at least 10 weeks. This is when you should start seeds for a fall garden. It will give your plants time to grow and mature before the cold weather arrives.
What Seeds Should You Start With Now?
Separate all of your seeds into two piles, seeds that need to be directly sown, and those that can be started inside. Now check what month those seeds can be planted. Find the ones that can be sown in your month and plant away.
What Happens If You Start Seeds To Early
If you get a little too excited and start your seeds early you run the risk of your plants getting too leggy before you can get them in the ground. This can leave your plants root bound by the time it’s warm enough to get them outside and delay your harvest or force you to plant too early risking damage to warm-loving crops from cold air.
Resources For Starting Seeds
We’ve compiled some of our favorite seed starting resources to get you started with a spring garden:
- Garden Journal
- How To Start Seeds
- What To Plant In February
- What To Plant In April For A Spring Garden In Zones 3-10
- What To Plant In September For A Fall Garden
- What To Plant In The Fall Garden To Extend Your Harvest | 30+ Fall Garden Veggies
- How To Start Flower From Seed
- How To Separate Seedlings & Plant Starts
- How To Shop For Seeds
- How To Sow Seeds With Perfect Spacing
- Garden Bed Planning Templates
- Plant Profile Gardening Record
Starting Seeds For A Spring Garden
Starting your own seeds is a wonderful way to save money, and get a wider variety of veggies, flowers, and herbs to grow in your garden. Plus it’s a great way to get a head start on the growing season! We start a huge portion of what we grow from seed every year- and no you don’t need anything special to do this. All you need is a warm spot with access to sunshine and some water. It’s that simple.
Did we answer all of your when to start seeds questions? If not drop them in the comments and we will do our best to answer them.
Before you go, check these out!
- How To Transplant Seedlings To The Garden
- How To Start A Garden From Scratch
- How To Start A Flower Garden
- How To Create A Homemade Seed Bank Customized For Your Family
- 35 Gifts For Urban Gardeners