GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — The biggest rule in starting seeds is this: Don’t start them too early!
Those who do can end up with leggy or spindly seedlings that outgrow their conditions before it’s time to transplant them outdoors.
Here’s a solid timeline to keep in mind.
Early February is about 14 to 15 weeks before the last frost... about time to start onions, geraniums and pansies.
Mid-February is the time to get impatiens, lobelia and celery started.
In early March we start to make good progress, with 10 to 11 weeks to the average last frost. This is the time for broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts and head lettuce. Also start dahlias, petunias, snapdragons, verbena and rudbeckia.
By mid-March eggplant, okra and peppers can be seeded indoors. Marigolds, ornamental peppers, salvia, alyssum and holly hocks can be started as well.
In early April we are 5 to 6 weeks out... finally time for tomatoes! Don’t be tempted to get them started earlier or you’ll have leggy seedlings. Early April is also time for aster, nasturtium, ornamental kale and morning glory seeding.
Mid-April is a good time to seed cosmos, sweet peas and zinnias.
Once they are seeded and started, spend the first couple weeks of May hardening off the plants by bringing them outside into the warm sun. Do it for just an hour or two at first, then increase the time plants spend outside until the last frost has passed, and they can be transplanted.