The Essential Seed-Starting Timetable

January 17, 2014 at 10:15 AM Leave a comment

John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds
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Our 2014 Kitchen Garden Seeds catalog is winging its way across the country and will appear in your mail box next week. In advance, you may want to review our Seed Starting Timetable to get a headstart on spring garden planning.

Why Start Some Seeds Indoors?
Did you ever wonder why certain varieties of seed are started indoors? It is usually because the days to mature harvest exceed the amount of time between your spring Frost-Free Date and your first fall frost. By starting these varieties indoors in advance, you will have a four to 14 week jump-start on the development of seedlings. Some varieties like to be started indoors so you can really pamper them with consistent moisture and warmer temperatures. Real warmth-lovers, like Eggplants, Peppers and Tomatoes, like to be coddled with 24-7 grow lights until they are ‘toddler’ seedlings when they will be able to handle cooler, dark nights.

tomato seedsPart One: Seeds to Start Indoors
It’s best to consider your seed order in two parts. The first should include the varieties that you must start indoors for transplant into the garden after your Frost-Free Date. You can find your reliable Frost-Free Date by using a nifty chart from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). GO HERE and select your State from the pull down menu. This will generate a PDF file with a list of NOAA data collection sites in your State. In the left column, choose the location nearest or most similar to where you live. Then read across. Use the middle threshold number (32F) and right next to it in the Spring column, will be the 90% probability date. This is your all-important Frost-Free Date.

Eight-week General Seed-Starting Timetable
Here is the general Seed-Starting Schedule for seeds that should be started eight weeks BEFORE your Frost-Free Date in your Horticultural Zone.
Horticultural Zones 9 & 10:  Start seeds indoors in early to mid January.
Horticultural Zone 8:  Start seeds indoors in early February.
Horticultural Zone 7:  Start seeds indoors in mid February.
Horticultural Zone 6: Start seeds indoors in late February.
Horticultural Zone 5: Start seeds indoors in early March.
Horticultural Zones 1-4: Start seeds indoors in mid to late March.

Vegetable and Herb Seed-Starting Timetable
Here is the seed-starting schedule by variety and the number of weeks BEFORE your Frost-Free Date.
Four Weeks: Bitter Melon and Cucuzzi Edible Gourds.
Six Weeks: Asparagus, Basil, Echinacea Root, Fennel (herb and vegetable), Melons, Okra, Onions, Rhubarb and Shallots.
Eight Weeks: Amaranth, Anise Hyssop, Bell Peppers, Catnip, Chile Peppers, Chives, Lovage, Marjoram, Oregano, Paprika Peppers, Parsley, Sage, Savory, Sweet Peppers, St. John’s Wort, Thyme, Tomatillos and Tomatoes.
Nine Weeks: Broccoli, Cabbage and Kohlrabi (transplant out four weeks before the last frost date).
Ten Weeks: Eggplant, Jicama, Lavender and Lemongrass.
Eleven Weeks: Artichokes, Cauliflower and Leeks (transplant out four weeks before the last frost date).
Twelve Weeks: Brussels Sprouts, Cardoons, Celeriac, Celery, Cutting Celery, Parsley Root and Stevia.
Sixteen Weeks: Rosemary and Strawberries (for first year crop).

seed pkg

Flower Seed-Starting Timetable
These beautiful varieties prefer to be started indoors two to 14 weeks, as specified, BEFORE transplanting out after your Frost-Free Date.
Two Weeks: Baptisia.
Four Weeks: Celosia.
Five Weeks: Alyssum.
Six Weeks: Dahlias and Echinacea.
Eight Weeks: Alternanthera, Amaranth, Baby’s Breath, Balsam, Black-eyed Susans, Cutting Ageratum, Canterbury Bells, Catmint Nepeta, China Asters, Cleome, Coleus, Coreopsis, Euphorbia, Forget-Me-Nots, Gaillardia, Globe Amaranth, Hardshell Gourds, Helichrysum Strawflower, Heuchera, Milkweed, Nicotiana, Nigella, Platycodon, Scabiosa, Snapdragons, Statice, Stock, Thunbergia, Tithonia and Yarrow.
Ten Weeks: Hibiscus, Phlox and Victoria Salvia.
Twelve Weeks: Datura, Dianthus, Digitalis, Helichrysum Silver Mist, Heliotrope, Hollyhocks, Johnny Jump-Ups, Lobelia, Salvia and Viola.
Fourteen Weeks: Verbena.
Midsummer for Fall Use: Ornamental Kale.

Part Two: Seeds to Direct-Sow Easily Outside
The second part of your order should include varieties that prefer to be direct-sown easily into the garden after your Frost-Free Date. These are the vegetables and herbs that magically come to life after you gently nudge them into the warming spring soil for abundant reward: Arugula, Asian Greens, Beans, Beets, Belgian Endive, Borage, Broccoli Raab, Brown Mustard Seed, Carrots, Chamomile, Swiss Chard, Chervil, Chicories, Chinese Broccoli, Chinese Cabbage, Claytonia, Collard Greens, Coriander, Corn, Cress, Cucumbers, Daikon Radishes, Dandelion Greens, Dill, Edamame, Endive, Escarole, Fava Beans, Fennel, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lemon Balm, Lettuce, Lima Beans, Mache, Melons, Minutina, Mizuna, Mustard Greens, Orach, Pak choi, Parsnips, Peas, Pea Pods, Pumpkins, Radicchio, Radishes, Rutabagas, Salad Greens, Salsify, Shelling Beans, Shiso, Snap Peas, Sorrel, Spearmint, Spinach, Summer Squash, Winter Squash, Turnip Greens and Turnips.

It is similarly easy to direct-sow a multitude of flowers into the garden. Here is the complete line-up: Alyssum, Amaranth, Bachelor’s Buttons, Bells of Ireland, Calendula officinalis, Cardinal Climber, Cathedral Bells, Chinese Lanterns, Columbine, Coreopsis, Corn Cockles, Cosmos, Delphinium, Forget-Me-Nots, Four O’Clocks, Hyacinth Bean Vine, Hyssop, Larkspur, Lavatera, Liatris, Linum, Love-in-a-Puff, Lupines, Marigolds, Mirabilis, Moonflowers, Morning Glories, Nasturtiums, Ornamental Gourds, Poppies, Runner Beans, Shasta Daisies, Sunflowers, Sweet Peas, Tithonia and Zinnias. Each of our direct-sow Habitat Gardens creates floral playgrounds with nectar-rich meals for Butterflies, Bumblebees, Hummingbirds and Songbirds.

We share our best-of-the-best recipes so you can feed your family and friends well without feeling frenzied. Take a look at our practical, hands-on horticultural tips to demystify gardening with seeds (it need not be tricky or difficult. Truth be told, it is a bit more like easy magic.) If you need help with anything, our office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Email us at customerservice@kitchengardenseeds.com or call us at (860) 567-6086. We can help you make your garden more easily tended and productive which in turn will help to keep gardening a happy, essential part of your family’s life. Lance Frazon, our seed specialist, is happy to help you in any way possible. He loves to talk seeds.

-To see our seed collection click: Flowers, gourmet fruits & vegetables and aromatic herbs.

-To request a 2014 Kitchen Garden Seeds catalog, click: Request catalog.

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