It’s always a challenge to know exactly when to plant vegetable and herb seeds in the garden. Whether you start your seeds indoors or outdoors, knowing the right time to plant is a crucial part of learning how to grow vegetables and herbs from seed. Using a customized seed sowing schedule can guide you through the spring and fall planting season!
Every year, about this time, you can find me scowling in frustration at the work before me. I’ll be sitting with my list of heirloom seeds I bought for the garden, a couple seed company catalogues, a calendar, and a blank chart, trying to figure out when would best time to nestle each little seed under the soil, hoping, rather praying, that they would grow and flourish and feed my family with the most fresh and nutritional food I can place before them.
“They” say you get dumber each time you have a baby, which means I’m not as bright as I used to be, and never do I feel it more than when I’m trying to figure out all those dates in a rush because it would be way too hard to plan ahead, wouldn’t it?
So I made one for the last time.
I went all out, created a once-and-for-all spreadsheet, and will never have to sit down and have to work out those figures on the calendar ever again!
Now I simply need to enter the last frost date and the first frost date for my zone (or better yet, the observed averages for my garden micro-climate) and let the chart do all the rest, automatically filling in all the dates for every vegetable and herb I could ever plan to grow (and then some!)
(You can find your frost dates here.)
If I notice that planting my tomatoes on 3/16 leaves them overgrown and struggling by the time the soil is warm enough to plant them, then I can make a note in my Homesteading Binder, edit the formula to reflect the adjustment, and have healthier seedlings ready for the garden next year! I love that I can customize it just for my garden & observations!
Having a plan and notes will help you to be patient when you’re so eager to get your hands into the earth. A lesson I learned firsthand last year.
While it wasn’t as nearly organized and comprehensive and customizable as this worksheet, I made myself an awkward seed sowing schedule to follow last year.
It was torture to stick to the plan while driving by other garden’s (or reading about yours!) and seeing little plants growing when mine weren’t even started yet! You know when the payoff came? In late August. Many of my plants were dropping heavy yields that continued all the way into November while I drove by overgrown garden after overgrown garden and watched them all be tilled under by the first of September. I still had a solid 8 weeks of harvesting left!
Being patient and following a plan also helps with your pest load. Let’s take cucumbers for example. I plant mine a couple weeks late and am able to avoid bacterial wilt spread by those rascally little cucumber beetles. Waiting ensures that your soil is warm enough for planting and the ground to be a bit drier after the spring rains.
I tried to include in my Seed Sowing Schedule Calculator every vegetable and nearly every herb I could think of and ended up with 39 vegetables & 22 herbs, everything from artichokes to thyme!
I love the clean design, that it’s straight forward & easy to understand- not all boggled & jumbled with a million different columns and boxes and colors. If the seed shouldn’t be started indoors (or outdoors), that is indicated by having that option blocked out.
I printed out my new, custom calendar and placed it in the back of my Seed Packet Organization Box so it’s right where I need it when I need it. I also added a copy to my Homesteading Binder so that I could make notes in my Month-At-A-Glance page.
I think the Seed Sowing Schedule is worth that alone, but you’ll also be able to join the ranks of hundreds of other organized homesteaders and gardeners this year in keeping good records, help improve your productivity this year, and make it your best garden ever with the Homestead Management Printables!
Having one less thing to do in preparation for spring next year makes me very happy! So does having a custom, calculating chart that is easy to use and simple to understand with a quick glance!
So tell me. When do you get to start planting your seeds?