When can I start my seeds?

A natural question, and my first year ordering, I wanted to start everything at once. Apparently that’s not such a good idea, as leggy sad looking seedlings pointed out to me in no uncertain terms.

My trick now is to read the recommended planting time on the back of the packets. Each packet will recommend a general period for starting seeds ahead of planting out. The trick that may not be explained on the package is that this requires gardeners to count backwards from the last frost date in our area. And this certainly changes by region.

As a general rule of thumb, learnt from a very successful community of Italian backyard gardeners in Sudbury, the first full mood after the May long weekend is a good bet. That usually means I can plant seeds requiring a 6 week start in mid-march, and 8 weeks at the end of April (I am in Zone 3b/4a).

There are great growing zone maps available online that will provide general guidelines. You may live in a micro climate area (near a lake, or low-lying area) that vary from the stated zone. The gardens in Sudbury were able to support Zone 4 plants fairly successfully because we were between two fair sized lakes. Here on Nipissing, we also have a micro climate that we can take positive advantage of.

Getting back to the seed packets, read through the instructions as sometimes there are special procedures for

Jasmine seeds and pod

germination – I don’t recommend trying this sort of seed in your first year of planting because it may be too discouraging. After a few

years of playing in the greenery (my thumb turned green after my 35th birthday), I am feeling adventurous so have a couple of plants requiring freezing seeds, soaking seeds, etc. We’ll see how that goes.

The other seeds I am playing with this year are ones gathered from my plants last fall – I will be trying to grow jasmine vines, and hibiscus plants. It will be fun to report back on how these do. I may be trying to find adoptive homes if the trial is successful.

By the end of the day tomorrow, I should be able to get to my planting trays and get hands into the dirt. I think it may be a good thing that I have a keyboard cover.

I’ll keep you posted.


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