For the avid gardener or beginner, this guide will help you determine the best time to plant various vegetables and flowers. Whether you’re attempting to start planting seeds indoors or you want to know when to plant those seedlings outdoor, we’ve crafted a simple step-by-step guide for you.

WHEN IS YOUR FIRST FROST-FREE DATE?

First, you’ll need to figure out when your first frost-free date. To do this, enter your zip code in the frost date calculator. Note the day after the last day of frost to determine your first frost-free date. Next you’ll need to download the Spring Garden Worksheet (courtesy of MotherEarthLiving) to calculate your planting date.

CALCULATE YOUR PLANTING DATE

seedlings
Do you have seeds or seedlings? Depending on which you have, you’ll be able to figure out the date to begin planting either indoors or outdoors. Using the Spring Garden Worksheet, follow the applicable instructions below:

  • SEEDLINGS

    • How to calculate: add or subtract the number of weeks (column 2 “Setting-Out Time”) from your first frost-free date. This will determine when you can start planting your seedlings. Place this date in column 3 (“Setting-Out Date”)
      • Do this for each plant you plan to grow to figure out the best planting dates.
  • SEEDS

    • Once the setting out date has been figured out. You can now subtract the weeks in column 4 (“Start Seeds Indoors”) from the “Setting Out Date”. This will determine when you can start planting those seeds indoors (“Start Indoors Date”).

HOW TO START SEED

Although this section is designed for those starting to plant seed indoors, some of the tips can be applied when planting seedlings outside.

For beginners, we recommend starting with tomatoes, marigolds, or basil. Some plants can be tricky to grow healthy indoors. Make sure to keep them in a sunny place! If not, you could use grow lights and a timer.

CONTAINERS

You can use virtually any container as long as it is 2-3” deep and drainage holes are created. Some examples for containers are standard trays (easy for transplanting), milk cartons, yogurt cups or paper cups.
planting soil containers

SOIL

Do not recycle soil from other plants. Seeds need fresh new potting soil to grow mature and healthy. Add perlite and peat moss to the base as well. We recommend Family Tree Potting Soil or Topsoil, Organic Kellog Topper, or Gromulch for the base potting soil as well.

SEED

Read directions for how to plant your specific seeds. Generally, you will want to moisten new seeds with a mister or small watering can. Tip: in order to make plants germinate faster, you can cover with plastic wrap. Once the germination process is done (you’ll seen the first sign of green), use liquid or granular fertilizers to promote healthy growth. Natural organic options are suggested and available at Hydro-Scape.

WATERING

Make sure not to over water! Soil must be moist but not drenched otherwise seeds may rot. Allow soil to dry between watering. To help air movement and prevent disease, it might be a good idea to place a fan nearby.

GENTLY BREAK IN PLANTS

Once your setting out date has arrived, place plants in a protected area from wind and in partial shade. Bring in at night to gently break-in the plants. Do this for 10 days and expose to more and more sun.