Seed starting for spring, summer and fall season vegetables

While giving my seed starting presentation last week, I received a lot of questions about how to determine the date to start seeds in order to get vegetable transplants for the spring, summer or fall garden.  The answer to this question is fairly simple.  Start with the date you want to transplant the vegetable outdoors and subtract from that date, the amount of time needed to grow the transplant from seed to transplantable size.  Since I will soon be planting my warm season seed like eggplant, peppers and tomatoes, I’ll give you an example using eggplant seed.  The back of my packet of eggplant seeds states the seed should be started 8 to 10 week prior to the plant out date.  I use the 8 week period because smaller stockier transplants suffer less transplant shock and grow more quickly. So, the simple calculation is to use the frost free date for Clarksville (May 17) and subtract the 8 weeks.

May 17 – 8 weeks/56 days = March 20

Rather than repeat this calculation for all my vegetable and flower seeds, I developed a spreadsheet which makes the calculation depending on the date you want the transplant available.  It can be found on the Howard County Master Gardener website, under the Grow It! Eat It! link,  The link to download the spreadsheet is on the right hand side of the page under quick and useful links.

One Comment on “Seed starting for spring, summer and fall season vegetables

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