Seed starting is a very rewarding addition to the backyard gardeners skill set. Buying available plants from your local retailer has a great convenience. But sometimes there are varieties that you just can’t find started for you. When to start your seeds indoors is an exercise in time…….ing. It all comes down to the specific plant and their specific requirements.
Know Your Seed Packet
Almost all seed packets will have a list of basic data that will be needed to assure proper planting times. These will include “day to Germination”, “Days to harvest”, “When to plant outdoors”. They will sometimes have other helpful pieces of information such as row spacing but the most important is the aforementioned.
Days to germination is the number of days it will take for the seed to sprout. SO from the first day the seed was sown into your media and given the requirements needed (light, water, heat) until the very first hint of green.
Days to Harvest is similar but at a much greater scope. So when the seedling is first planted outdoors in the correct conditions (soil temperature, air temperature) until the day you will begin to harvest the first fruits.
When to plant outdoors is a direct reflection of the plant’s cold tolerance. Many seeds will give a timing as to when it should first be planted outdoors. This will usually read something like this, “Plant two weeks before last frost” or “plant after the last danger of frost”. It is important to note the requirements as planting too early or late could cause your plants to die from a hard freeze or keep you from harvesting in a timely manner.