The Q&A Archives: Planting Vegetable Seeds Indoors

Question: Hi! I will be planting a vegetable garden for my second time ever this year. I was told by some of my fellow gardening friends that some of the seeds for the vegetable plants should be grown previously indoors, so when it is time to plant the garden the plants can be used instead of the seeds. Can you please tell me when is a good time to start planting my vegetable seeds indoors, so I can have plants when it is time to start my garden? Hopefully I will start my garden outside in early May. Also please tell me if this is a good time to start a vegetable garden for the summer or should it be done earlier. Last year we started our garden in early June and it took about two months until we saw any results.

Answer: I recommend that you go to the library or bookstore and get a copy of "Vegetable Gardening for Dummies" by Charlie Nardozzi. It provides a ton of useful information for beginners. A rule of thumb is to start seeds indoors 6-12 weeks before planting them outside. Planting usually takes place after the last frost which is around early April in NJ. (Root crops are always sown directly into the garden as they don't transplant.) Plants do take a certain length of time to establish root systems, grow and produce a crop, so two months is about right. This is called "days to maturity" and this info is found on seed packets or in catalog descriptions. The fewer days to maturity, the faster you will see a crop.

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