Find The Best Time To Plant For Springtime - Complete Seed Starting Guide

4 comments by Halley -Author at MIGardener

Written by - Kaitlynn from MIgardener

You have finished mapping out your garden for this year, but now it's time to figure out when to start your seeds. Finding the perfect time to start seeds might be intimidating for beginners. But a word of advice from the experts; starting seeds indoors is a complete luxury and not a necessity to see fruitful (haha) results from your garden. Your garden can be just as successful without starting seeds indoors, and some varieties do better direct sown in the first place!

If you have the space in your home, an area with a good amount of sunlight, and the time to start your seeds in advance, here's how to get started. We'll also cover what types of plants don't do well when started indoors. With this guide you'll find that working out your perfect seeds starting time is simple.

Step 1: Last Frost Date

Timing is everything when it comes to seed starting. It's important to find the last frost date in your area in order to give your seedlings the time they need to mature for transplanting. There are a handful of ways to find last frost dates online and in person. Our new garden planner comes with a last frost chart that you can use as a guide for your area. You can look up last frost dates online that are more specific to your location on the Old Farmers Almanac. For our international readers, google is a straightforward resource to find your last frost date by looking up your nearest big city.

Step 2: Follow the Guide

After finding your last frost date, here is a comprehensive list of plants and when they should be started indoors and out.

Start Indoors:

Type # of Weeks Before Last Frost
Lavender 5-7
Lemongrass 5-7
Artichokes 5-7
Rosemary 5-7
Perennial Flowers 5-7
Strawberries 5-7
Bunching Onions 5-6
Eggplants 4-6
Peppers 4-5
Tomatoes 4-5
Basil 4-5
Parsley 4-5
Onions 4-5
Celery 4-5
Tomatillos 4-5
Annual Flowers 3-5
Chives 3-5
Sage 3-4
Thyme 3-4
Asparagus 3-4
Kale 3-4
Kohlrabi 3-4
Brussel Sprouts 3-4
Collards 3-4
Broccoli 3-4
Lettuce 2-4
Cabbage 2-4
Mustard Greens 2-4
Spinach 2-3
Parsley 2-3
Dill 2-3
Rhubarb 2-3
Sunflowers 2-3
Okra 2-3
Swiss Chard 2-3
Melon 1-2
Cilantro 1-2
Cucumbers 1-2
Squash 1-2

Direct Sow Outdoors:

Some plants like root vegetables, large plants, corn , and garlic sets don't transplant well from indoors to outdoors. Here's a guide to when to start direct sowing these types.

Type # of Weeks Before/After Last Frost
Beets 3-4 - before
Carrots 1-2 - before
Radishes 1-2 - before
Potatoes 4-5 - before
Corn 3 - after
Peas 3 - after
Beans 3 - after
Turnips 1-2 - before
Parsnips 1-2 - before
Peanuts 2 - after
Sunflowers 1 - after
Spinach 1-2 - before
Bunching Onions 1 - before
Asparagus (crowns) 2-3 - before



  • Yvonne Fostersmith

    Thank you this is helpful. I am zone 6.

  • Maria Davis

    Hi, thanks for all the great info. I just need to know if the chart on direct sowing is for seeds or transplants of seedlings .

    Thank you

  • Sue

    Hi, can you start peas before the frost date rather than after the frost date? Thank you.

  • Tammy

    Hello MIGardener, question: on the chart in the article is says to start onions 4-5 weeks before last frost date. But on the package of onion seeds that I purchased from you it says 10-12 weeks before last frost. I have white sweet Spanish onions as well as Nebuka Evergreen bunching onions. Thanks for the help.

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