Because of the winter weather outside in some areas, it is hard to believe it’s almost
time to put away the snow shovel and dust off the garden shovel. It’s
true! Depending on where you live and garden, it is time to schedule your
seeds for indoor starts.
When to start your seeds indoors depends on the type of seeds you plan to sow and on
the last expected frost date for your area. Last expected frost dates can be
found in the zone table below. To find out the zone for your area, check the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, or contact your local cooperative extension.
Look on your seed package to find out how many weeks ahead of the frost date your
seeds should be started. For example, for those of us from Indiana (Zone 5),
the frost-free date range is March 30 – April 30. March 30 indicates the
earliest time growers can plant outside and most likely avoid a frost which
would damage or kill plants. Most tomato varieties suggest a start date of six
to eight weeks prior to the frost-free date. Counting eight weeks back from
March 30 means February 2 would have been the earliest date to start tomato
seeds! Counting six weeks back from April 30 means March 19 is the latest
date to consider starting tomato seeds.
The time is now. Don’t be fooled by the weather outdoors! It is time to start
planning and start planting.
LAST EXPECTED FROST DATES BY ZONE
ZONE 1 – June 1 – June 30
ZONE 2, 3 and 4 – May 1 – May 31
ZONE 5, 6 and 7 – March 30 – April 30
ZONE 8 – February 28 – March 30
ZONE 9 – January 30 – February 28