Wednesday, February 19, 2014
A Seeding Calendar for the Curious
A friend asked to know when I start my seeds, so here it is! I base my seed-starting times on the "weeks before average last frost date" chart in the Square Foot Gardening book. I have them permanently in my iCalendar so I never forget when it's time to get started!
Lots of people do things differently, like starting tomatoes way earlier, but this seems to work for me. I don't have any grow lights and put everything in my south-facing windowsill, so I don't like to start too terribly early. My plants still get "leggy" but if I turn them every couple days, they seem to get a lot sturdier. Anyway, based on the average last frost date of May 10 in Edmonton (NOT May long weekend as so many suppose!), here are the dates around which I generally try to start plants. It's not an exact science - I haven't had time to start my "feb 15" stuff yet, and it's obviously almost a week later. It'll happen. Also, this is not an exhaustive list of plants, since I don't grow everything.
Early February: seed onions inside
February 15: seed broccoli, cabbage, parsley inside
March 22: Seed first lettuce inside
March 26: Seed tomatoes and peppers. (I usually start a few of my tomatoes earlier than this)
April 5: transplant broccoli and seed peas/kale/spinach OUTSIDE. (Obviously this is dependent on the absence of snow. But broccoli can withstand up to -4 degrees C so don't be too afraid to put it out! If it snows, just put a row cover on it. Mine got frost-bitten last year but they all survived.)
April 19: Seed beets/carrots/lettuce OUTSIDE, transplant lettuce
April 25: Seed squash inside
(this includes all pumpkins, zucchini, etc. Theoretically you can start them earlier but it's not really worth the counter space they take up, since the bigger they are, the longer they take to get growing properly after transplanting in the garden.)
May 3: Seed cucumbers inside
May 10: Transplant tomatoes, squash, and onions OUTSIDE, seed beans straight into the ground OUTSIDE. (only if it's warm; beans will rot if the soil is cold and soggy)
May 17: Transplant cucumbers outside
May 24: Transplant peppers outside
That's it! I hope you find that helpful.