This Guide is intended as a general introduction to planting and raising seeds which are available from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. While we have endeavored to answer as many questions as possible, no document of this size can hope to be all encompassing. We therefore encourage you to seek additional locally-specific information from your agricultural or university extension office: Begin at the beginning: As early as possible in the year, prepare a list of the vegetables, flowers, and herbs you want to grow. Obtain the seed for them or, if too late to start your own plants this year, opt for locally-purchased plants and plan to be earlier next year. Plants which mature quickly such as beans, leaf lettuce, radishes, etc. can be planted even if you purchase your seed well past the last frost date in your area. It is also possible to grow a second crop or Fall Garden by starting many seedlings in late June and July for planting and harvesting up to the First Fall Frost. Plan out on paper where in the garden you will put your plants, taking advantage of windbreaks, shade, and sunlight hours. Save the paper and add notes as your garden progresses. A full and accurate garden record is as essential a tool as a spade or trowel.
The importance of the Last Frost Date in Spring: There are two categories of plants in the garden. Frost tender plants which will be killed by temperatures of 32 degrees or less. This group is further divided into those which must be started indoors so that they have grown into small plants before planting after the last Spring frost and those which will simply be direct seeded into the garden soil after the frost date.
Hardy plants will not be killed if your early Spring temperatures drop into the lower 30’s. These can be planted directly in cool soils without pre-starting in the house.
Find out your Last Frost Date: You can ask gardening neighbors, call any local agricultural or university extension offices, ask at a garden supply or nursery or at the feed store, or consult a map through several on-line sources. With this date you can now work backwards through the early Spring months and work out what needs to be started and when.
Thanks and Regards,