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

13 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



  • Claire

    Hey, your readers might benefit from my frost date calculator – it’s taken me a hot minute to create!

  • Cecile Schlesiger

    I have struggled with following the date to start written on seed packets. I find the seedlings are stressed when its time to plant out. This year I will follow the above chart for starting seeds. They will be smaller but hopefully less stressed so growth will take off.

  • Anissa

    Super helpful, but I am with Sue in questioning the pea timing. I have always had them in long before corn, but this says 3 weeks after for both…
    And can onions be direct sown? I have never had luck starting anything in the house, but I am longing to grow onions from seed. Thanks!

  • Lisa Hardeman

    Printed and laminated! Thank you!!! Lisa

  • Tracy Bush

    Thanks, Luke! These recommendations and charts are super helpful. I’ve been a bit panicked looking at some recommendations. With the heat pressure last year, I was afraid I was starting too late.

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