Organizing Seeds

OK, so we’ve all been there: enticed by those luscious catalogs glowing with glossies of ripe and redolent vegetables, we’ve rushed out, bought large quantities of seeds, and then stuck the packets in a drawer, only to remember them again in June, far too late in the game. Well, thanks to our friends at John Scheepers seeds, here’s a guide to keep you on track:

General Seed Starting Timetable: Eight weeks prior to last frost date

Horticultural Zones 9 & 10:  Start seeds indoors now.

Horticultural Zones 8:  Start seeds indoors in early February.

Horticultural Zones 7:  Start seeds indoors in mid February.

Horticultural Zone 6: Start seeds indoors in late February.

Horticultural Zone 5: Start seeds indoors in early March.

Horticultural Zone 1-4: Start seeds indoors in mid to late March.

Vegetable/Herb Seed Starting Timetable (Listed in weeks before the last frost)

Four Weeks: Melons, Bitter Melon and Cucuzzi Edible Gourds.
Six Weeks: Asparagus, Fennel, Onions, Rhubarb, Shallots, Tomatillos and Basil
Eight Weeks: Eggplant, Tomatoes, Chiles, Sweet Peppers, Chives, Sage, Stevia and Thyme
Nine Weeks: Broccoli, Cabbage and Kohlrabi (transplant out four weeks before the last frost date)
Ten Weeks: Celery, Celeriac, Jicama and Lemongrass
Eleven Weeks: Leeks, Artichokes and Cauliflower (transplant out four weeks before the last frost date)
Twelve Weeks: Cardoons and Brussels Sprouts
Sixteen Weeks: Strawberries (for first year crop) and Rosemary.

Flower Seed Starting Timetable (Listed in weeks before the last frost)

Six Weeks: Cutting Ageratum, China Asters, Celosia, Cleome, Coleus, Nepeta Catmint, Euphorbia, Forget-Me-Nots, Dahlia, Nicotiana, Scabiosa, Snapdragons and Thunbergia
Eight Weeks: Milkweed, Coreopsis, Gaillardia, Globe Amaranth, Helichrysum, Hibiscus, Hollyhock, Heuchera, Nigella, Platycodon and Statice
Ten Weeks: Dianthus, Digitalis, Lobelia and Heliotrope
Twelve Weeks: Datura, Salvia and Viola.

Of course, simply having the list doesn’t necessarily mean remembering to get the seeds in the ground, so I find that having a seed organizer like this one really does the trick:

When you receive your seeds, simply read the back of the packet to learn the planting time, pop the seed in the right slot, and put the box where you can’t overlook it. I guarantee you you’ll never miss a planting date again. I wish I could take credit for this invention, but this particular box had quite a long history even before I came on the scene: it’s the official Victory Garden seed box, and belonged to my distinguished predecessor (and very first VG host) James Underwood Crockett. When I left the show, the box was given to me as a present, and I think that Jim would be tickled to know that almost 40 years later his particular brand of Yankee frugality and common sense still works gardening magic each spring.

Until next time, I’m Michael Weishan, for Old House, Old Garden.


Organizing Seeds — 2 Comments

  1. I love that seed organizer – what a great idea. I’ll totally have to rig up something similar. And what a neat history!

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