The Q&A Archives: Timing for Starting Seeds

Question: I would like to start vegetable seeds indoors in late winter/early spring. When is the best time to begin to grow seedlings indoors? The vegetables I am interested in growing are tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and possibly hyacinth beans. <br>Also are there any plants that will attract natural predators for insect pests?

Answer: Tomato and pepper seeds should be sown 6-8 weeks before the last expected frost date for your area; sow eggplant seeds 8-9 wks prior to last frost date. Your County Extension Office (ph# 201/599-6162) can give you your approximate last frost date. Sow the hyacinth beans directly into the garden once the soil warms up. <br><br>There are quite a few plants that attract beneficial predators; try some of my favorite flowers: marigold, red cosmos, yarrow, tansy, angelica. Herbs more to your liking? These herbs have the added benefit of attracting beneficial predators: anise, coriander, cumin, dill, lavender, mint, rosemary, pineapple sage, thyme, caraway, winter savory. P.S. Lavender, mint, pineapple sage, winter savory, and thyme are perennial. Dill and coriander readily reseed. <br>(You can place seed orders for the 1998 season starting the last week of December; you can either order through the web site or call Burpee at 1-800-888-1447.)

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