Blue Robot

Believe it or not, gardeners, it’s soon time to start seeds

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/20 at 02:24 PM

Despite the relatively mild weather outside melting the snow, if we are being truly honest with ourselves, we know that winter is not over. Far from it, based on where we live. We know that it can snow into late April and even early May here in Central PA.

The good news for gardeners is that despite the snow-covered yards, it’s soon time for us to start gardening. We need to start certain things from seed inside, giving the plants adequate time to sprout, grow, mature, and produce fresh goodness by the time summer ends. In fact, certain things can be started very soon or even right now, depending on your last frost date.

When is your last frost date? Depending on where you live based on this map, it can range from May 1-May 20. It’s good to know your local climate. I live in Port Matilda, and I’ve found that May 10 is a decent average last frost date, so I go from there.

Now, when exactly to start seeds depends on the variety. If you count back the weeks from your first frost date, there are actually some things that can be started right now for those in the more southern regions of Central PA. Here’s some examples:

10-12 weeks before frost: Celery, pansies (yes, these flowers are edible and go great on salads), onions (see below), leeks (also see below);

8-10 weeks before frost: Onions/leeks (timing on these depend on type of spring; if we have a wet spring where you can’t plant these out 4-6 weeks before last frost they might sit in the cells too long so 8-10 weeks might be better), eggplant, peppers

I will go over the ones to plant later in a future blog post. One thing to keep in mind, certain things like tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce, etc. are a risk to plant too early because if you can’t plant them out because of a wet, cold, or snowy spring they may sit in the cells too long and get rootbound. Timing with this is very important so don’t let the winter gloom drive you to planting these too soon.

{name} Author: Jamie Oberdick
Bio: Editor, Local Food Journey | Passionate about supporting local food in Central PA

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