Re: [gardeners] When do you start seeds?

Liz Albrook (
Sun, 13 Dec 1998 02:09:36 -0800

On 12 Dec 98, at 22:53, Lorraine Young wrote:

> I was wondering when anyone started growing their seeds for 
> transplants.
> I won't be starting Tomatoes, impatiens and petunias until March, 
> but I was wondering about pansies and violas for April planting in 
> my Zone 6 garden.  Any ideas?

I plan to set out non-frost tolerant plants about 10 - 14 days after 
the average last frost date in the spring.  Zone designations don't 
tell you anything about when to plant -- you need to check with the 
nearest local agricultural office for that information.

After you know when your frost date is, decide when you should 
plant then work backwards.  Tomato plants, for example, are best 
set out at 4 - 6 weeks of age and I shoot for 4 week plants.  I figure 
in about a week for germination.  So, I start tomato seeds about 5 
weeks before I intend to plant them.  

Information on what age transplants should be when planted out 
and germination times can be obtained from a number of sources 
including some seed catalogs.  For an easy to read el cheapo 
reference book with a good deal of information on that topic the 
Ortho _Vegetable_ book (magazine type format) is good (if, of 
course, you are interested in veggies).  If memory serves Stokes, 
Thompson & Morgan and Johnnie's Seed catalogs all have some 
information on time till germination.  There are also numerous 
books on starting your own plants from seeds (easily located at 

Some seeds take much longer than others and within a single 
species some varieties are more difficult to germinate than others.  
Violas are an example of the latter -- some varieties are very, very 
difficult to germinate while other varieties are simple.  That 
information is often given in the T&M catalog.