What to Plant When
Yes, it’s finally time to check your seed chart and plant seeds! No matter where you are in the Northern Hemisphere, you can start something, even if only indoors for now. I’ll start with some general tips that you can make notes on to create your own Seed Chart – and I’ll also include some other resources to specific resources as to what to plant when for your specific planting zone. Finally I’ve incorporated a few predictions from the Farmer’s Almanac with my interpretation on how this might impact seed planting.
Cruciferous veggie seeds like cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens and broccoli can be planted up to two months before the last frost (if and this is a big if this year if you’re in the northern parts) the soil can be worked. A better idea may be to plant seedlings indoors eight weeks prior and then transplant roughly three weeks prior to the last frost.
Taters, onions and pea seeds can be planted as soon as the ground thaws (these won’t work so well if you start them indoors).
Tomatoes and pepper seeds need a good head start. But not too, long or they tend to get lanky. Start these seeds indoors two months before your area’s average last frost. Wait until two weeks before your average last frost ends and check the weather for upward or downward trends. If the trend is up, consider going ahead and planting them. If the trend is down, wait until *after* the average last frost and still check the forecast to be safe!
All the other summer veggies you love such as as corn, squash, cukes, watermelons…flower seeds, pumpkins…plant these seeds after your first frost-free date or once the soil warms up if it’s been especially cold.
If you really want to optimize your planting dates, you will also want to check the moon’s phase. In the same way that the moon causes the tides to go in and out,
it also has a gravitational affect on plant’s (and seeds) moisture levels. Increased moisture means more likelihood that the seed will sprout because that’s what seeds do! (absorb moisture).
During a new moon, the moon’s gravity pulls water up which helps the seeds retain moisture and swell. This is the best time to plant above ground annual crops and for seed planting in general. That said, you can get a lot more specific! In fact you can purchase a Gardening by the Moon Seed Calendar on Amazon (we will receive a small commission if you purchase through this link – it helps support our film). I haven’t tried this myself, but if you do, let me know how it works out for you.
If you’d like a printable, customized seed chart, Mother Earth News has a good free one here. They also list a few other resources on what to plant when including a nifty iPhone app.
You can check your average last frost date by clicking here.
What to Plant When… Farmer’s Almanac Spring Forecast Region by Region
Possibly a late start for seeds this year. April and May predicted to be cooler than normal with above average rain.
A mixed bag for seed planting. April and May will see more precipitation than usual. Temperatures below normal up north and slightly above normal down south.
Rain is good for planting…but not too much. April and May might see more precipitation than usual. Cooler temperatures up north and slightly above normal down south.
April and May predicted to be cooler than normal (detecting a trend yet here?) with less rainfall than normal in the north and more rainfall than normal in the south.
I’m not as familiar with growing patterns in Florida. From my perspective you have a pretty sweet growing season. April and May predicted to be hotter than normal, with more rain than usual.
Ideal seed planting conditions forecast. April and May predicted to be warmer and drier than normal.
Good temperatures for seeds. April and May predicted to have below normal rainfall in the eastern parts and more than normal in the western parts. Warmer than average.
A nice southern welcome for seed planting season. Warmer and drier weather for April and May.
Good times for seed growers in the Upper Midwest. A warmer than average April and May, less rain than usual in the eastern parts and about normal in the western parts.
A warmer and drier April and May. Get those seeds in the ground!
Seeds need warm, but not too warm or delicate leaves will be damaged. Keep an eye on the temperatures. April and May predicted to be warmer than average with about normal rainfall.
April and May predicted to be warmer with slightly more precipitation.
April and May predicted to be drier and warmer than average. Good conditions for seeds as long as irrigation is in place.
A slightly rainier April and May with lower than average temperatures…but your micro-climate may differ.
Great news for seed savers in the PNW! April and May predicted to be warmer than average and drier.
April and May predicted to be warmer and with a bit more precipitation than average.
A cooler April and May with about normal precipitation. Not great news for seed planting. A greenhouse may be in order…
April and May predicted to be warmer than average with less rain than usual on the Big Island and less than average elsewhere. But Hawaii has three, sometimes four growing seasons. Lucky!
For the full Farmers Almanac Prediction Outlook, click here.
I hope these resources help get your seed starting off to a healthy beginning. Make note of what you plant when and how it worked out. No seed chart can replace the one you create for yourself in your unique micro-climate.
One last tip is to plant mindfully. According to some traditions, the emotions of the person planting the seed also set the intention for the seed’s growth. Whether or not this fits with your belief system, it’s more fun and rewarding!