Develop a Seed Plan for Your Vegetable Garden, Part 2: Defining a Seed-Starting Schedule


broccoli seedling 

Transplanted broccoli seedling. Photos by Sheryl Campbell

You developed your seed plan, made or purchased your seed starting supplies, and you are ready to start planting your garden indoors. How do you know which seeds to start…and when? Look back at your garden seeding/transplanting plan. Then look at your seed packets for information. Most seeds take 7-10 days to germinate and 2-4 more weeks to grow out indoors in small pots. This might include the hardening off time or you might need to add another week for that process.

See when you want to transplant the seedling in your garden, then count back the appropriate number of weeks for that type of vegetable to germinate, grow out, and harden off. There isn’t a set rule for all vegetables. I start tomatoes 5 to 6 weeks before planting, but give peppers 8 to 9 weeks. Melons and squash usually only take 4 weeks. Alliums take forever to get large enough that I can keep them weed free without injuring them so I start them 3 months before planting out. That way I can mulch them with fine straw immediately to keep the weeds down.

A huge benefit to starting seeds yourself is the ability to do so in summer when your heat loving crops are taking up garden space. Indoors the broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages are happily getting going on the light table ready to replace corn and beans as soon as spots open up late summer or early fall.

 cool season seedlings hardening off

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