2018-01-09 / Columns

Seed-Starting Thoughts

It is hard to imagine spring and/or flowers with the wind blowing, snow, and 0 degrees. But, there are lots of seed catalogs to tempt us. The lack of sunshine will most likely make us overestimate the size of our growing areas, causing our seed order to be much larger than necessary.

Keep in mind that it is months before seed starting time. One of the worst mistakes a gardener makes is to plant seed too early. The rule of thumb is to start seed 4 - 6 weeks before our last frost. Generally, most associate the last frost with Memorial Day. So, with that in mind, most seeds do not need to be planted indoors before the beginning of May. The only real exceptions will be cool weather vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli. Check the directions on the back of the seed packs for germination instructions. Starting plants too early usually ends in disaster. Stems become elongated trying to reach for adequate light.

It is important to keep a list of what seed varieties are ordered and from whom. This should help you avoid duplications and perhaps over purchasing. The internet provides a great research tool for both seed varieties and seed sources.

This is probably a good time to catch up on some seasonal reading, or browse the latest gardening magazine. Try to put planting on the back burner and spend these January weeks with planning for next summer’s garden.

Send specific questions to Country Grown Perennials LLC, Peggy Bolton, 4801 Pines Brook Road, Walton, NY 13856. Enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you wish a personal reply. Visit us on the web at

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