When should we start seeds?


I found this nifty time frame chart about when to start some of our seeds indoors. Not all are listed but as I find more I’ll add it to this chart. Our last frost date here in Santa Fe (zone 5) is May 15 but you can adjust this to your time zone as it is listed as to how many weeks to start seeds ahead of your last frost date.

Please note-Anything you actually put out in the garden early before your last frost date, must have some kind of protection.

TOMATOES-6-8 weeks before last frost (sometimes even up to 10 weeks with proper lighting)

PEPPERS-8-12 weeks before last frost. Big  deal around these parts of the southwest! I find they take forever to start!

EGGPLANTS-6-8 weeks before last frost. I find these take a long time to start also.

LETTUCE-5-6 weeks before last frost if you want to start indoors. (I also like to plant lettuce, spinach and different greens, carrot and beet seeds directly in the soil right after St. Patrick’s Day around here as they can handle a little frost but I still cover them with row cover at night)

SPINACH-5-6 weeks before last frost or plant directly outdoors (around St. Patrick’s Day)

GREENS (broccoli, chard, kale, cabbage,etc)-6-8 weeks before last frost (or plant after St. Patrick’s Day)

GIANT PUMPKINS (or any pumpkin)-2-4 weeks before last frost (but you must protect them if you put them out early) or just wait as they grow fast

MELONS-2-4 weeks before last frost or just wait as they grow fast

CUCUMBERS-2 -3 weeks before last frost or just wait as they grow fast

BEANS-2 -3weeks before last frost or just wait as they grow fast

SUMMER SQUASH-Just plant after last frost date directly in garden

WINTER SQUASH-Just plant after last frost date directly in garden

Best reason for starting your own seeds

As you can see below most of my first sowing of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are up and growing. Still, they are only 2-3″ tall so far. Some of them have their first true leaves coming out.

The best reason for starting my own seeds is that I get to pick out which varieties I want to try and the nurseries don’t usually have all of the ones I want. I try to grow mostly gourmet heirloom varieties that I will sell in our local farmer’s market if I get accepted. Last year I got into our Farmer’s Market very late in the season as I had a plethora of  tomatoes. I call myself  ‘The Tomato Lady’-Heirloom Tomatoes & Exotic Veggies For the Discriminating Cook which was a big success. I just applied to the Farmer’s Market for the summer again but this time from the beginning of the season. Growers are picked by a jury as it has gotten soo popular. I hope I get in. Besides my tomatoes, I am growing other wonderful veggies. And of course, giant pumpkin season is just around the corner too. I won’t start those seeds inside until sometime mid April.