New gardeners often make the mistake of starting seeds at the wrong time. Planting seeds too early may leave you with towering plants that simply don’t transplant well, while starting seeds too late leaves you with miniature seedlings too weak to transplant. Knowing when to start seeds inside improves your chances of growing a healthy garden.
- Determine the last expected frost date in your area. You can find this information by entering your zip code into the Interactive Maine Last Frost Map.
- Check the seed packet for the recommended starting time. This can be found on the back of the seed packet and is typically expressed as the number of weeks before transplanting to the garden.
- Count backwards from the last expected frost in your area, until you reach the recommended starting time.
- Note the seed starting time on your gardening calendar and start seeds at this time.
Some flowers and vegetables do not need to be started inside, as they can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. Warm season crops, such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash and melons cannot tolerate the frost and must be planted after all danger of frost has passed in your area.