Getting ready to start your seeds?

Are those seeds you ordered arriving in the mail?  Can’t wait to get started on seed-starting?  It’s almost February – let’s get going!

WHOA.  Slow down.  Check your seed packet information, and do some math.  With a few exceptions, if you start your seeds this early you will have gangly, enormous plants by the time you are able to put them outside (average last frost dates do apply, even when the weather is 60 degrees at the end of January!).  Check here for information on your last frost date.  If the plants you are starting should be planted outside after that date, then check on the seed packet where it says “start seeds indoors x number of weeks before” and subtract.  In most cases you won’t be putting seeds in soilless mix until mid-March.  Some plants take much longer to grow (you can start peppers and eggplants in February, but please don’t start tomatoes) and some can be put outside earlier than the last frost date (most greens and other cabbage family plants, for example).  But do the math!

We’ve got lots of seed-starting resources for you on the Grow It Eat It homepage!  Lights, containers, seeds, potting medium, transplants, etc. – lots of pictures and five videos!  Check it out!

ETA: Video here of Jon Traunfeld speaking about seed-starting at the Washington Gardener Seed Exchange.

3 Comments on “Getting ready to start your seeds?

  1. I'm getting ready to start my brassica and lettuce seeds in two weeks for planting the first week of April. The last week of March, I'll move my transplants into a cold grame to harden the plants off, prior to planting outdoors. After trnsplanting the seedlings, I'll cover them with row cover to retain warmth and keep the cabbage moths from laying eggs on the plants.

    For a introduction into planting seed for transplants, see and search for seed starting.


  2. I planted collard greens five days ago and have two dozen seedlings under the lights already. Now I'm watching the onion, leek, and parsley cells for evidence of germination. Who cares about the groundhog? This counts as the beginning of the growing season, so it's spring to me!


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