Spring is just around the corner! This is the perfect time of year to prepare for the growing season by starting seeds indoors. Learn how to organize seeds according to their specific needs. Understand the timetable for planting seeds at the right time, in the right place. All you need is a little curiosity, patience, and enthusiasm, and you’ll have a great head start on your garden for this season.
Spring: time for planting seeds
The first day of spring is only a couple of weeks away. Can you believe it? I can’t. I was all hunkered down and ready for more winter (we still have snow covering the garden), when I looked at the calender and realized that it’s time to start planting seeds. Holy spring, Batman!
So, I thought I’d help demystify some of the confusion around what to plant where, and when to plant what. After taking a three month long master class from Utah State with hours of instruction, some of us students were still confused about the basics of gardening. Gardening appears so simple but can be deceptively difficult sometimes. Please don’t fret or worry if some aspects of gardening seem daunting. Even experienced gardeners need help.
What Seeds Should I Plant Now?
Planting schedules vary depending on your location. No matter where you live, you belong to a growing zone. These zones indicate what kind of climate, temperatures, growing seasons, etc., your region experiences. If you look at the back of most seed packets, they will often give instructions on when to plant, according to your zone. And whether or not to sow indoors or directly in the ground. I will be categorizing which seeds I start indoors and which seeds I wait to sow directly in my garden. And I will explain why.
What seeds should I start indoors?
There are definitely seeds that should be reserved for directly planting outdoors—I will share those with you in the next segment. But there are plenty of seeds that do very well germinating indoors with good soil and lighting.
It’s important to know the timetables for all seeds planted indoors. Meaning, when they should be ready for transplanting into the garden outside. Check with your zone to learn when your last frost date usually happens and plant your seeds so that they’re ready for transplanting after that date. Unless your seed packet instructs you otherwise. There are some cold hardy plants that don’t mind a little frost.
Every plant varies as to when they are ready for transplanting; some are three weeks, four weeks, or six weeks. It’s important not to plant your seeds too early because they will quickly outgrow the seeding tray and become an overgrown mess. So, read your packet carefully and mark on a gardening calendar when to plant each seed type in the tray and when to transplant them. You can use different colored pens or markers to indicate certain plant types to help eliminate confusion.
Seeds that I usually plant indoors
Indoor Planting List for Herbs & Vegetables
- Bell Peppers
- Hot Peppers
Indoor Planting List for Flowers
What seeds do you plant directly in the ground?
Some of these seeds could technically be planted indoors. I mean, you see some these plants being sold at big box nurseries, right? I see little baby stalks of corn and pumpkin plants for sale all the time. But in my years of gardening experience they don’t transplant terribly well. And it costs way more money. Corn and pumpkin are so easy to grow from seed, it just doesn’t make sense spending the money and then increasing your failure rate.
There are experienced gardeners who manage to transplant some of these plants from their greenhouses to the garden just fine. But in my experience these plants thrive much better when sown directly into the ground.
Mark on your gardening calendar when to plant each type of seed. Some seeds must wait until after the last frost date, while others are cold hardy and can be planted in the ground much earlier in the spring. I will list some of these cold hardy seeds in the next segment.
Here is what I sow directly into my garden
Vine Plants to Sow Directly in the Garden
- Morning Glory (flowering)
Root Vegetables to Sow Directly in the Garden
Vegetables to Sow Directly in the Garden
- Green Onion
What Seeds Can I Plant When There’s Still Danger of Frost?
Plants that Can Handle a Little Cold
Please be sure to double check seed instructions and your zone guidelines before planting your cold hardy seeds. I don’t want to be responsible for a failed crop. Yikes! Just be warned that even cold hardy plants can fall susceptible to extreme conditions. So if you choose to plant seeds in the early spring, you will have to watch over them in case they come into danger. Or just be okay with idea that may have to replant them, if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Here’s what I usually plant in early spring.
- Green Onion
Cold-Hardy Bulbs & Flowers
- Tulips (bulb)
- Hyacinths (bulb)
As you can see there are a surprising amount of seeds that can be directly sown into the ground in early spring. So exciting! The growing season is really not that far away.
How to Start Seeds Indoors
For a step-by-step tutorial on how to start seeds indoors, check out my Seed Starting Post.
If you are interested in learning how to transplant seedlings into the garden, I will be posting a tutorial in the near future. Be sure to check back with me.
If you want a charming way to save or share your seeds, then visit my post for French Seed Packets.
More Words of Advice
When doubt creeps in—read the seed packet
Seed packets are usually very good at giving you everything you need to successfully germinate. Your success rate is what helps them sell more seeds. If you fail, you won’t buy from them again. So, store your seed packets away, even if they are empty, for future reference. If you cannot find a piece of information you need, then use Google. I’m positive you’ll find it.
Keep a garden journal and calender
Remember, keep a well-organized, tidy calender with all of your dates. Also, keeping a garden journal with little notes and observations can be a life saver. A note from last season about an area being too shady or wet for a certain plant can help you avoid making the same mistake again. And no, you will not remember. Haha! By the time spring rolls around again you will have forgotten all about it. So make careful notes about successes and failures for future reference. Keeping track of frost dates, temperatures, pest problems, soil problems, is very helpful as well. This information will help you better navigate future growing seasons.
I hope you find as much joy watching your little seedlings grow into strong, healthy plants as I do. There’s something so fulfilling in participating in the power of creation. The idea that you can make something from nothing. From a little dirt, a little sun, a little water, and a little seed comes life, beauty, sustenance, and wisdom. How lucky and privileged we are to partake in God’s wondrous plan of creation through gardening. I am deeply grateful.
- French-Inspired Antique Frame: using a cheap dollar frame purchased at Michaels, plaster molds, and antique gold paint.
- Scottish-Inspired Candle Posts: using a simple 4 x 4 post and a Dremel.
- Lavender Scented Heating Bags: using essential oil, rice, linen, and a bit of feminine lace.
- Mood Board for a French Garden: let’s explore moods, colors, textures, and tones that combine to create a breathtaking garden.
SEE YA NEXT TIME!
As always, take care and continue working on those projects. Enjoy the last of these cozy winter nights in front of a warm, glowing fire and I’ll see you on the other side. 🙂
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