TO ENJOY THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE HARVEST, I like to start certain crops indoors. Some seeds — tomatoes come to mind — require fairly warm soil in order to germinate; if I had to wait for the heat of June to plant them in the Kitchen Garden, I probably wouldn’t see any fruit until the end of summer. Furthermore, established transplants are less likely to be murdered by invading insects. For handy reference, here is a list of what to plant and when:
INDOOR SOWING SCHEDULE OF VEGETABLES & HERBS
Count backwards from your average last frost date:
Twelve weeks: Brussels Sprouts
Eleven weeks: Leeks, Artichokes and Cauliflower
Ten weeks: Celery, Celeriac, Jicama and Lemon Grass
Nine weeks: Broccoli, Cabbage and Kohlrabi
Eight weeks: Eggplant, Tomatoes, Chiles, Sweet Peppers, Chives, Sage, Stevia, Thyme and Parsley
Six weeks: Fennel, Onions, Shallots, Tomatillos and Basil
Four weeks: Melons, Winter Squash, Summer Squash and Edible Gourds
Of course, the above list is only useful if you know the average last frost-date for your zone. The National Climatic Data Center will provide this information for you. Here in zone 5-b, the average last frost date is May 17.
As I have mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I don’t depend on windowsills for indoor seed-sowing projects. My sunniest windows are already overflowing with houseplants. Also, seeds placed in windows tend to produce weak, leggy growth. I plant the seeds instead beneath the fluorescent light stations in my study, where they develop into sturdy specimens well-suited for outdoor planting at the proper time.
If you have any comments or questions concerning indoor seed-sowing, by all means post them in the comments section below.
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