We’ve taken the guesswork out of your planting schedule! Get ready for the gardening season and use this guide to know what to plant indoors 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost date.
Vegetables to Start from Seed 6 to 8 weeks Before Your Last Frost Date
Cabbage can be sown early in small pots 1/2 an inch deep. Harden off seedlings by setting out for a few hours each day. Transplant outdoors when 3 to 6 inches tall, on 12-inch centers.
Artichoke does well in warm climates, but in cold climates starting seed indoors is a must. Grow as an annual or grow in pots and overwinter indoors.
Leek needs a long growing season. Plant early for summer harvest and again in the fall for overwintering.
Parsley likes full sun or light shade and moist rich soil with plenty of organic matter. Soak the seeds overnight to speed up germination (which can take up to 3 weeks). Choose your garden spot carefully and let one plant go to seed in the fall. It will come up again, year after year.
Sweet or Hot Peppers need heat to grow and set fruit and nighttime temps below 50F will stunt seedlings.
Tomatillos are grown just like tomatoes and are used in soups and sauces. Harden your tomatillo plants when the weather reaches 50F and consistently stays that way at night. Grow tomatillo plants in tomato cages or by themselves. If you do put them in cages, set the plants 2 feet apart, or if you want to let them sprawl, set them 3 feet apart.
Tomato needs warm weather to grow and produce fruit. The blossoms will fall off below 50F. Find varieties suitable to your climate. Sow seeds in flats or small containers. Keep them warm and moist until they sprout, about 6 to 14 days.
Rhubarb can be found as starts at your local nursery or grow the variety “Glaskins Perpetual” from seed. It can be grown in any climate, under just about any conditions. Rhubarb prefers a hard freeze during winter, but it’s not necessary.
Potatoes are started from sprouts on last years crop 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Purchase specialty. organic spuds and try sprouting them yourself or get seed potatoes from a local nursery. Start indoors, cut into sections with at least one eye and plant out in the garden (or in pots) 3 weeks before the last frost date.
Vegetables to start from seed 3 to 4 weeks before your last frost date
How do I know my last frost date?
I’ve created a handy worksheet to help you determine your last frost date and how to use this to know when you should start specific seeds indoors. This will also help you decide on the best time to plant them outside in the garden.
Here’s How to Use the Last Frost Date Planting Worksheet:
- Find your last frost date. This is the date that you are usually NOT going to see another freeze. Maybe you already know it – if not head on over to Morning Chores or the Farmers Almanac and use the handy freeze/frost date calculator. You can look it up by your zip code and get a range of dates when frost is and is not expected. They will also give you the average number of growing days per year. How handy is that!
- Make note of these dates and enter the average last freeze date you collected from the website, in the first column. (ex: To figure out when I should start my broccoli seeds I take my last frost date of March 5th)
- Get out a calendar that you can use for your seed starting and planting times. Some people in the South will begin seeds in December for setting out in late February.
- Add or subtract the number of “weeks to set out” (in this case subtract 3 weeks) to get the “set out date”. That means that in my area I can plant broccoli outside the week of Feb 12th.
- Count back from the “set out date” (Feb 12 – for my broccoli) by the number of weeks to grow indoors (-6) to get your “start indoor date”. My seed starting date for broccoli happens to be Jan 1st, which by now is long gone.
Don’t worry if you’ve missed the seed starting date, there is often still a window of time to get started. If it is not too far gone, start the seeds anyway. Most cool weather crops can be planted in succession until the days get very hot during the summer months.
If it is getting on in the season,purchasing starts from the local nursery may be your best option this year.
The Last Frost Date Planting Worksheet works to help you know when to plant certain vegetables and herbs in your garden without danger of frost damage. Enjoy!
Now that you’ve determined your last frost date, what should you be planting right now?