The Q&A Archives: Timing For Sowing Indoor Seeds

Question: I want to start both perennials and annuals indoor this year. Especially perennials gets to be too expensive if I have to buy plants. I have tried once before 3 years back and was moderatly succefull. I have all the necessary kit ( heating mat, lights etc). But the problem I had last time was timing. Either it was too soon or too late. Especially too soon ones outgrow and happen to take over the whole house. So this time I want to be little bit more oragnized.

I am in NJ and around mid May happen to be the last frost date. I understand I need to time the plants in such a way they are ready to be planted outside at that time. Starting middle of Jan I want to plant seeds depening on their growth schedule in order to plan them outdoors in May.

So my question is about some general guidelines and advice.
What popular perinneals and annuals I can start sowing in Jan,Feb,Mar,Apr. Even 3 or 4 suggestion would suffice. I am gussing there are some standard schedule for various plants. I am thinking of may be starting pansies and primrroses in Jan because they can withstand cooler temperatures and so can get outdoor fast.

Any suggestions is greatly appreciated.

Answer: The seed explosion is a typical problem, so you are not alone! Using a cold frame can be very helpful in managing the flow of plants to the out of doors and making room indoors. Using restraint in starting a realistic number of plants can also be helpful. (Many seeds can with care be kept successfully for use next year.) Many plants can also be direct seeded in the garden to avoid the use of precious indoor space. Here are some discussions about seed starting, including those helpful charts. Enjoy!

You will notice that most of the plants addressed above are annuals, with just a few perennials. The reason for this is that many perennials are preferably propagated by cutting or division. You will find some good informaiton about a number of perennials in the following article.

Please also note that many perennials require a chilling period prior to germination. This can be done at home by placing the seeds in a plastic bag of slightly moist soilless mix or peat moss or vermiculite and placing that in the refrigerator for the required amount of time. Thirty days is a typical time frame although this varies depending on the specific plant. You will need to check the germination requirements for each particular perennial, as some have very specific needs in terms of chilling and or soil temperature.

Good luck with your seeds!

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