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Design a Raised Landscape That Works

Raised beds have been around for years, but have become increasingly popular recently because they make the landscape orderly, organized and easy to maintain. You can readily reach over and pull weeds as they appear, plant more comfortably and enjoy the new tiered depth and dimension of your lawn and garden. Raised beds are also particularly helpful if you are working with heavy soils that drain poorly, or if you have mobility limits that make getting down to ground level more difficult.

If you’re just getting started with raised beds, it’s easy to successfully bring your gardening to a higher level:

  1. Define the bed lines with a rope or hose. Consider the overall bed size, as well as the size and shape of your building material. You may want to position the bed along a fence or in a corner for more dimension and support.
  2. Dig a 4-6” deep edge along the perimeter. Don’t worry if this line isn’t as neat as you would like, because it will be more refined once you construct the bed frame.
  3. Remove existing sod/grass from the bed. You can compost the removed material, or use it to patch other spots in your lawn or turf as needed.
  4. Place concrete blocks, wall stone or other edging along this new bed line to build your bed frame. Wooden railroad ties or planks can also be used, but be aware that they may warp or decay in time. In general, stone or other sturdy materials are preferred.
  5. Build up your flower bed approximately 6-8” with top soil, mixing in peat moss for better drainage and compost, leaf mulch, cow manure or similar organic material to adequately nourish the soil.
  6. Compact your soil mixture as you build up each layer. This will help keep the bed from settling excessively as you plant and water.
  7. Increase the visual impact of your flower bed or gardening area by planting at different levels. Arrange shorter, lower growing plants in front, followed by medium and then tall plants in the back. You might consider some “spiller” plants along the sides and front if desired. Choose plants carefully to match the size of the bed, avoiding plants that will quickly outgrow the smaller, more confined space.
  8. Apply a 2-3” layer of mulch or stone and thoroughly soak your new landscape feature. Sprinkle Miracle Gro Weed Preventer or a similar product over the area to provide an invisible layer of protection against germinating weeds.

Before you know it, your new raised bed will be thriving and will quickly become the centerpiece of your landscaping. Then it’s time to construct another!

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Year-Round Container Gardens

The best gardens provide interest all twelve months of the year. In the spring and summer, gardens are full of color with bright, cheerful bulbs, pastel spring-flowering trees, vivid, multi-colored bedding plants and striking perennials; fall gives us shades of yellow, gold, orange, red and purple with the changing of the season, as well as abundant fruits and berries. Winter has its attractions as well with evergreens, hardy plants and persistent berries. With a little planning, container gardens can give us color and variety every month of the year.

Planning for Winter Container Gardens

While most gardeners have no trouble creating lush container gardens for spring, summer and fall, winter is more of a challenge, especially if you hope to enjoy the same plants in every season. Fortunately, many plants are suitable for winter container gardening. The best choices include evergreens, shrubs with berries, those with contorted branches or interesting bark and buds or later winter-flowering shrubs. These plants remain in the containers for year-round interest, while bulbs, annuals and perennials can be switched out for colorful seasonal interest. Consider how all the plants will change seasonally so you can create a living tableau that will retain gorgeous shape, form, color and texture throughout the year.

Planting and Care for Year-Round Container Gardens

When planting containers for all-season interest, frost-proof pots should be your choice. This includes fiberglass, polyethylene and structural foam planters. These pots resist winter damage, insulate to help regulate the soil temperature and retain moisture better than porous pots. They are also lightweight, so they can be more easily moved to a sheltered location in poor weather, or shifted to a sunny spot on a warm day.

Plant containers as you normally would, following good horticulture practices – enriching the soil, providing proper drainage and arranging plants for the best visual appeal. Be certain to give your pots shelter from the prevailing winds and water your plants when needed to keep roots from drying out. To water, check the soil moisture when temperatures rise above 40 degrees and add cold water as necessary. You may want to shift the containers’ location each season for the best light and weather protection. In winter, it may also be useful to add an insulating blanket around the pot or to provide more wind protection by stacking hay bales around the container.

Plants for Winter Interest in Year-Round Containers

While some plants are stunning for a season, the following plants are proven winners in winter and will bring great interest to your containers.

Evergreens

  • Buxus (Common Boxwood)
  • Pinus (Dwarf and Semi-Dwarf Pines)
  • Thuja (Dwarf Arborvitaes)
  • Juniperus (Dwarf Junipers)
  • Tsuga (Dwarf Hemlock)
  • Picea (Dwarf Spruces)
  • Taxus baccata (English Yew)
  • Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Filifera Aurea’ (Golden Japanese False Cypress)
  • Pieris Japonica (Japanese Pieris)
  • Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel)
  • Microbiota (Siberian Cypress)
  • Euonymus fortunei (Wintercreeper)
  • Sciadopitys verticillata (Japanese Umbrella Pine)

Deciduous

  • Amelanchier arboreo (Downy Serviceberry)
  • Fothergilla gardenii (Dwarf Fothergilla)
  • Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ (Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick)
  • Ilex verticillata ‘Nana’ (Winterberry Holly)
  • Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ (PeeGee Hydrangea)
  • Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster)

Late Winter/Early Spring Accent Plants

  • Helleborus (Christmas and Lenton Rose)
  • Primrose
  • Ajuga
  • Violas or Pansies
  • Crocus*
  • Snowdrops*
  • Dwarf Iris*
  • Ivy

*Plant these bulbs in fall for winter flowering.

No matter what you choose to plant, it’s easier than you think to design delightful containers that will catch everyone’s eye all winter long.

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Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!

A Buffet of Berries for Winter Birds

Plants with berries add winter interest to the garden and also attract many different types of birds. But which berries are best for your yard, and how can you ensure a bountiful buffet for your feathered friends to enjoy?

Caring for Berries

No matter which berries you choose to add to your landscape, opt for varieties native to your region. When berries are native, they are more readily adapted to the local climate changes, including the temperature extremes of winter. Furthermore, regional birds will recognize the berries more easily and will enjoy them as a safe and familiar food source.

Plant berry bushes as early as possible so the plants have plenty of time to become established in your landscape and bear copious amounts of fruit for the winter. Water them well throughout the summer and fall to encourage a good crop of plump, rich berries. Avoid pruning the bushes in autumn, and instead leave the branches intact, complete with their tasty treats. Not only will winter wildlife enjoy the feast, but the extra shelter from unpruned bushes will also be appreciated.

Best Winter Berries

There are many different types of berries that can attract winter birds, but two standouts are top picks for winter interest, not only for the birds but for their beauty in the garden.

  • Hollies
    Offering long-lasting bird forage, this group of plants provides great cover and nesting sites as well as edible berries in shades of red, orange and yellow. And, because the berries ripen at different rates even on the same bush, hollies provide food for several months. Winterberry and American holly are easily pruned as shrubs or small trees and are almost always within pollinating range because they are natives. Birds that seek holly berries include robins, blue jays, eastern bluebirds, red-bellied woodpeckers and more, including grouse and quail. The sharp-edged foliage is also a deterrent to predators, and cut branches can be stunning holiday decorations if desired.
  • Pyracantha
    This easy to grow plant has a huge feathered following. In addition to different thrushes, bluebirds, woodpeckers, grouse and quail, pyracantha, or firethorn, also attracts cardinals and purple finches. The dense clusters of orange, yellow and red berries look like a blaze of fire in the winter landscape, and the thorny branches provide superior protection from predators as well as shelter from winter storms.

Winter birds will love the berries they can find in your yard, and you will love the visual interest and seasonal color these beneficial plants provide.

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Variegated Solomon’s Seal

If you don’t already grow variegated Solomon’s Seal in your shade garden, this is the year to start. This charming, visually appealing perennial is similar to hostas, but has its own unique character that will add beauty, texture and interest to your landscape. Furthermore, it is deer-resistant, making it perfect for a yard that may lose a few too many plants to wandering wildlife.

About Variegated Solomon’s Seal

Variegated Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum falcatum ‘Variegatum’) is a low-maintenance plant native to Europe and Asia. A landscaping favorite for its overall beauty and visual richness, it sports 2-3-foot tall gracefully arching, reddish or burgundy stems. The stems are lined with narrow green leaves streaked in pure white. Beneath the stems, in pairs, from late spring to early summer, drip tiny, fragrant, bell-shaped white flowers. In the autumn, small, round, black fruit replaces the flowers and leaves turn golden yellow. Overall, these clumping plants grow 2-3 feet tall and wide, making them a suitable size for many different landscape designs. As clumps grow, they can be divided every 2-3 years in spring to give you even more of these lovely plants to work with, or you can allow the colony to naturalize in your landscape for a lush carpet of foliage and flowers.

This plant is quite hardy and is not seriously bothered by either insects or diseases, though snails and slugs can be a problem. Leaf spot and rust are very rare problems and easily overcome with diligent care.

Variegated Solomon’s Seal in Your Landscape

These are versatile plants that can do well in any full or part-shade area of your landscape. Add Solomon’s Seal to a woodland garden or shady border, or beneath a broad, spreading tree. This is a great plant to anchor rain gardens, because it likes moist soils and is not overly sensitive to too much water. At the same time, it will also tolerate drought and drier soils, making it an ideal addition to add growth and greenery to rock gardens.

Variegated Solomon’s Seal can look stunning on its own, or adds even more texture and interest when planted with hostas and ferns or when filling in spaces between other shrubs or ornamental grasses. Plant it in fertile, moist, well-drained soil, preferably in fully shade or only minimal dappled sun. Amend the soil with compost as needed, especially while the plants are young. Water well until the plants are established, then enjoy the beauty as this low-maintenance wonder takes good care of itself.

Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!

Early Spring-Blooming Perennials

When winter is long and dreary, it can seem like your precious flowerbeds will never burst into life again. Early spring flowers, however, are precious proof that winter is on its way out, and some can even bloom in bright, cheerful colors right through lingering snow. Yet we often forget these beauties, overcome with the bold, familiar bulb displays of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and more. This is unfortunate, because many of these perennials have a subtle charm that complements bulbs and shrubs which bloom in early spring, and they add even more variety, texture and color to your landscape.

Perennials for Early Spring Blooms

When choosing the best plants to be a stunning early spring display, the amount of sun or shade the location receives is the most critical factor for the plants’ success and the gorgeousness of their growth.

For a sunny location, opt for…

  • Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)
  • English Daisy (Bellis perennis)
  • Mountain Pinks (Phlox subulata)
  • Rockcress (Aubrieta)
  • Candytuft (Iberis)
  • Wall Cress (Arabis)

For part to full summer shade locations…

  • Pasqueflower (Anemone pulsatilla)
  • Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)
  • Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia)
  • Columbine (Aquilegia)
  • Dead Nettle (Lamium)
  • Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis)
  • Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera)

Planting Perennials for Early Spring Blooms

When you choose which early spring bloomers to add to your landscape, consider the plants’ overall mature size, soil requirements and both watering and fertilizing needs to be sure they can reach their full potential. If you choose to plant them in fall, take extra care to protect tender roots and give the plants time to thoroughly establish themselves before the first hard freeze. Good compost and mulching around the new plants can help protect and nourish them through the first winter, and they’ll be ready to burst into colorful bloom in just a few months.

Many of these plants are good mid-level bloomers ideal for flowerbeds. They can fill in around other small accent trees and shrubs and provide a lush background for other blooms or mounding plants in front of the bed. They can fill in around trees for a more naturalized look, and can be great in borders. Just be sure to plant at least a few where you’ll have a good view of their beauty from indoors and you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of their early blooms even if it’s a bit too cold to be outdoors in your garden!

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Growing Plants Under Artificial Lights

When growing plants indoors it is often difficult to provide the proper amount of light required to maintain a happy and healthy specimen. With the onset of winter, the days are shorter and the nights are longer limiting the amount of available natural sunlight even further. The intensity of the sun is also diminished at this time of year. The addition of artificial lighting to replace or supplement natural sunlight is important for growing healthy, attractive houseplants and necessary to keep flowering plants in bloom during the winter months.

 Light Color and Plant Growth

In order for a plant to grow properly the light it receives must mimic natural sunlight. Sunlight contains all the colors of the spectrum and all are necessary for the process of photosynthesis. Red and blue are two of the most important colors vital to plant growth. Red stimulates vegetative growth and flowering, however, too much red will create a leggy, stretched plant. Blue regulates plant growth for a fuller, stockier plant. For the best results, choose a full-spectrum fluorescent gro-bulb. This is the best lighting choice for optimum houseplant health and vitality.

 Light Intensity

Different types of plants require different light intensities. Some plants thrive in low light, others require bright light. With artificial lighting the intensity of light is determined by the bulb wattage and how close the plant is to the light source. Knowing the light requirements of your plants will benefit you greatly when determining where to place a light and which plants to group together under the fixture. As a general rule of thumb, plants that are grown for fruit and flower usually require more light than those grown strictly for their foliage. Plants under artificial light should be rotated weekly, as light from tube style bulbs is more intense in the center of the bulb than at the ends. Using white trays, mirrors or trays lined with foil will help reflect light to increase the amount of light available to your plants.

 Duration of Light

Most houseplants do well with 12-16 hours of artificial fluorescent light each day. Too little light will result in elongated, spindly growth and too much light will cause a plant to wilt, color to fade, soil to become excessively dry and foliage to burn. Plants also require a rest period each day. Providing your plants with an 8-12 hour period of darkness a day will moderate plant growth rate and provide the rest necessary for setting flower buds. For example, the Christmas cactus needs 13 hours of uninterrupted darkness a day, for six weeks, in order to set flower buds. Without this required time of rest time the Christmas cactus will not flower. The use of an automatic timer is helpful in regulating the amount of time your houseplants are exposed to light and darkness.

Fixtures

When choosing a plant light fixture, the most important feature is that the fixture be adjustable. You should be able to adjust the fixture up and down to account for the growth height and varied light intensity requirements of a variety of plants. If the fixture is not adjustable you will limit the type of plants that you can grow and how much you can use the fixture. Simple shop lights and tabletop light fixtures are both adjustable and good choices for lighting houseplants. Another consideration is the size of the fixture. Size choice is based on the number of plants that you plan to grow under the light. Lighted plant carts provide multi levels of lighted shelves on which to grow plants. Carts are on wheels that make them easy to relocate, while tabletop fixtures are lightweight and easily transported to other locations when necessary.

It may seem intimidating to get started with artificial light sources, but you will be amazed at the difference it will make to all your indoor plants, houseplants and seedlings alike.

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Winter Composting the 3-Bucket Way

It’s cold outside and the compost pile is frozen. Do you really feel like hauling kitchen scraps out into the winter wasteland only to have them picked through by scavengers when there isn’t enough bacteria available to break them down? Fortunately, there is an alternative. Keep your kitchen scraps cooking this winter and producing buckets of black gold for the garden next spring while you stay warm and cozy. Try the three-bucket system in your basement or heated garage – no odor, no pests and very easy!

The 3-Bucket System

Try these easy steps for the 3-bucket composting system in your basement or heated garage, where there is just enough warmth to keep the system operating without the microbes and outer layers of the compost freezing. Five-gallon painter buckets with lids work great or plastic trash cans with lids make the job a cinch. Even better are cans with wheels, so you can easily move your compost out to the garden for spring use!

  1. Fill bucket #1 with sawdust or peat moss mixed with equal parts dry soil. Add a little limestone and cover with lid.
  2. On the bottom of bucket #2, place about one inch of dry straw, leaves or shredded newspaper. Dump your kitchen scraps on top as they become available, each time sprinkling on some of the sawdust/soil mixture from bucket #1 to absorb odors and excess moisture. If you have a lot of scraps to add all at one time, portion them out and add as smaller amounts, covering each addition with the sawdust/soil mixture. Replace the lid after each addition. If there are any large pieces of scraps you may want to chop them smaller before adding to help speed the decomposition process. If your scraps are holding excess water, let them drain well before adding them to the bucket.
  3. When bucket #2 is full start filling bucket #3, using the same process you used with bucket #2. By the time bucket #3 is full, the contents of bucket #2 should be well on the way to becoming compost. Despite calling this the 3-bucket system, you can actually keep adding as many buckets as you need through the winter, but number them appropriately so you can keep track of which ones are most composted to be used first.
  4. Use and enjoy in the spring!

While the 3-bucket compost system won’t replace your compost pile, it’s still a great way to continue composting through the winter so you have plenty of rich, organic material to add to your garden in spring. Don’t let the scraps and waste from winter days be lost in the trash – turn that trash to treasure for your garden!

Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!

Bird Feeding 101: Low Maintenance Suet Feeding

Suet is a high-energy brick of animal fat and other ingredients to attract insect-eating birds. Because it is high in fat and calories, it is a quick source of heat and energy for birds and has been used as a good substitute for the insects that birds usually feed upon, but are not plentiful in cold weather. Suet can be offered all year long but is especially important in winter. Why not offer suet to your backyard birds today?

Easy Suet Feeders

Providing suet in a wire basket or mesh bag is an easy, low-maintenance option. Depending on the numbers of birds feeding in your yard, you may only need to add a new cake or ball to the basket or bag once or twice a week. Birds will cling all over the feeder to access the suet, so even as the cake is nibbled away they can still reach the treat. While suet may be most popular in winter, you can leave it in your yard year round and birds will always visit, so there is no need to swap out the feeder or store it during different seasons. Another popular option is a suet log – a simple length of wood with 2″ holes that will fit suet plugs. Birds happily cling to the wood as they feed, as it mimics their natural feeding habitat. For the safest feeding, position any suet feeder 5-6 feet off the ground and near a tree trunk, shrubs or brush for birds to retreat easily if they feel threatened.

It is important to note that squirrels may love suet just as much as birds. Using wide baffles above and below the suet feeder can help keep squirrels away from the food and give birds a better chance to feed without interference. Choosing suet blended with hot pepper can also discourage squirrels, but birds have very limited taste buds and don’t mind the heat.

Birds That Love Suet

Presenting suet in your backyard will also attract a greater variety of birds for your enjoyment. The different birds that enjoy suet include…

  • Bluebirds
  • Bushtits
  • Cardinals
  • Chickadees
  • Jays
  • Kinglets
  • Mockingbirds
  • Nuthatches
  • Starlings
  • Titmice
  • Thrashers
  • Woodpeckers
  • Wrens

As more birds discover your suet feeder, your flock will grow and you may find you need to add a second, third or even fourth feeder to sate all those feathered appetites!

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Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!

Feeding Birds in Winter

Winter is a crucial time for birds. As temperatures drop, there are no insects to eat and the natural seeds are covered with snow, and as the season lengthens, the berries and crab apples are long gone. Birds need enough food to maintain their body temperatures and must search for food from sun up to dusk. If you provide nutritious options at feeders, birds will flock to your yard all winter long.

Best Foods for Winter Birds

Fatty, high-calorie foods are important for winter birds. Fat is metabolized into energy much quicker and more efficiently than seeds to help them maintain their high body temperature necessary for survival.

A number of backyard foods are excellent sources of quick energy and protein to nourish winter birds, including…

  • Suet
    Suet cakes provide an excellent energy source for birds and are often mixed with seeds, berries, fruit and peanut butter to appeal to a wider range of species. These fatty cakes are easy to add to cage or mesh feeders, or suet balls, plugs, shreds and nuggets are also available.
  • Peanut Butter
    Peanut Butter is also very popular with a large number of birds. To reduce the cost of feeding peanut butter, you can melt it down and mix it with suet or mix in cornmeal so it is not quite so sticky. Smear peanut butter on pine cones and hang them for fast, easy feeders.
  • Seeds
    When native seeds may all be eaten or hidden under snow, seeds at feeders are very important. Seeds contain high levels of carbohydrates that are turned into glucose to help with the bird’s high energy demands. They also are a good source for vitamins and some protein. Make sure the seed you purchase does not have a lot of fillers (milo and wheat seeds) that are not eaten. Mixes with sunflower seeds and millet are preferred.
  • Sunflower Seeds
    If you want to offer just one seed to birds, you can’t beat sunflower seed. Black oil sunflower seeds have a softer shell than the striped seeds and can be eaten by sparrows and juncos, as well as cardinals, finches, jays and many other birds. These seeds have a number of advantages: they are not overly expensive, they appeal to a wider variety of species and they contain a larger amount of vegetable oil to help supply the energy birds need to maintain their body heat in the winter. They are also a good source of protein.
  • Cracked Corn
    Cracked Corn is a good, inexpensive food that appeals to a large number of birds, including doves, sparrows, juncos, quail and cardinals, as well as starlings and grackles. Sprinkle the corn liberally right on the ground for larger ground-feeding birds to enjoy.
  • Nyjer
    Nyjer (thistle) seeds are small, oil-rich black seeds typically offered in tube feeders or fine mesh feeders small birds can cling to as they feed. These seeds are tiny but they pack a huge punch for oil and calories, ideal for winter feeding. Nyjer is a favorite of goldfinches, pine siskins and redpolls.
  • Nuts
    Nut meats are highly nutritious and provide necessary amino acids and protein a bird’s body cannot produce. They also have oil and are high in energy. Peanuts are the most popular nuts to offer to backyard birds, but walnuts are also a good option. Avoid using any nuts that are salted or seasoned, however, as they are not healthy for birds.

Other Winter Feeding Tips

Just providing food for winter birds isn’t enough to help your feathered friends stay well-nourished during the coldest months of the year. For the best feeding…

  • Position feeders 5-10 feet away from bushes and shrubs that may conceal hungry predators.
  • Use broad baffles to keep squirrels off feeders and to shelter the feeders from snow and freezing rain.
  • Refill feeders frequently so birds do not need to search for a more reliable food source, especially right before and after storms.
  • Use multiple feeders so you can offer a wider variety of different foods and more aggressive birds cannot monopolize the feeder.
  • Provide water in a heated bird bath so thirsty birds do not have to use critical energy to melt ice and snow to drink.

Feeding birds in the backyard can be a wonderful winter activity, and if you offer the best, calorie-rich foods birds need, you’ll be amazed at home many birds come visit the buffet.

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Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!

Seed Starting

Starting seeds indoors is a rewarding gardening experience and can help extend your growing season to include more plant varieties than your outdoor season may permit. Furthermore, a larger selection of seed varieties doesn’t limit your opportunities to growing only those transplants that are available at planting time. The key to success in growing seedlings is in creating the proper environment.

What Seeds Need

Seeds are generally hardy, but to start them properly they do need gentle nurturing so they can produce healthy, vibrant plants. In general, seeds should be started 4-6 weeks before the recommended planting time so the seedlings will be large and strong enough to withstand the stresses of transplanting. Use a sterile growing mix which is light enough to encourage rich root growth. Sow the seeds thinly and cover lightly with sphagnum peat moss. Water using a fine spray but do not soak the seeds – they also need oxygen to germinate, and if they are overwatered they will drown. Cover the container with clear plastic to hold the moisture and increase humidity. Place the containers in a warm (70-80 degrees) spot and watch daily for germination. The top of the refrigerator is often an ideal location. When the first seeds germinate, place the seedlings in bright light or under artificial lights (tube lights should be 2-3” from seedling tops) for several hours each day, since late winter sunlight will not usually be sufficient to prevent weak, leggy seedlings. Daytime temperatures should range from 70-75 degrees. Night time temperatures should range from 60-65 degrees.

As Seeds Grow

When the seedlings develop their first true sets of leaves, add half-strength water soluble fertilizer to their water – organic fish emulsion or seaweed fertilizers are great to use. Repeat every second week to provide good nourishment. Thin the seedlings or transplant them to larger containers as they grow. Before planting outdoors, harden-off the plants at least one week before the planting date. Take the transplants outdoors in the daytime and bring them in at night if frost is likely. Gradually expose them to lower temperatures and more sunlight. The use of hotcaps and frost blankets to cover early plantings will also aid in the hardening off process so the seedlings can adjust well to their new outdoor environment.

Transplanting Seeds

Transplant seedlings into the garden after the safe planting date on a calm, overcast day. Pack the soil around the transplant with as little root disturbance as possible. Sprinkle the plants with water, keeping the soil moist until the plants become established.

Popular Indoor Seed Start Dates

The exact dates you want to start seeds will vary depending on your local growing season, the varieties of plants you choose and what their needs are. In general, dates for the most popular produce include…

Vegetable Seed Starting Dates

  • February – Asparagus, celery, onion
  • March 1 – Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, lettuce
  • March 15 – Eggplant, peppers, tomatoes
  • April 1 – Summer squash
  • April 15 – Cantaloupes, cucumbers, winter squash

Flower Seed Starting Dates

  • January/February – Begonia, carnation, geranium, impatiens, nicotiana, pansy, rudbeckia, salvia, snapdragon, verbena, vinca
  • March 1 – Ageratum, dahlia, dianthus, petunia
  • April 15 – Aster, calendula, celosia, marigold, zinnia

Use seed starting dates as a general guide to ensure your seeds have plenty of time to reach their full harvest potential before the weather turns in autumn. At the same time, consider staggering seed starting every few days to lengthen your harvest and keep your favorite vegetables and flowers coming even longer during the growing season. As you gain more experience with starting seeds, you’ll be able to carefully plan your seed calendar to ensure a lush, rich, long harvest season.

Old wooden seed tray with plant seedlings of various kinds (Zinnia and Pea).

Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!