If you live in the United States or Canada and are wondering when to sow and plant seeds for your garden, this is the ultimate guide! We’ll cover all of the basics including how to find your Plant Hardiness Zone, when is the last frost, and when to begin sowing seeds both indoors and also outdoors in your garden. This guide will focus on your vegetable garden, but the concept will work for any kind of seeds. Let’s start growing!
The Ultimate Guide of When to Sow and Plant Seeds
Knowing how and when to start planting your seeds may seem like a daunting task, but like everything in life, all you have to do is break it down into bite-sized pieces. We have all of the resources laid out for you from start to finish.
How to Find Your Plant Hardiness Zone
First, you need to know your zone. Do you know what Plant Hardiness Zone you live in? While the zones are approximate and not absolute, they are a great guide to help you determine which plants will thrive and achieve their optimal hardiness.
For example, we live in Alexandria, VA which is Zone 7. When looking for the best vegetables to grow in our zone, I will always search for Zone 7.
You can either view your zone below or use the USDA’s interactive map HERE.
For our favorite neighbors to the north, you can either view your zone below or use the Agriculture Canada’s interactive map HERE.
How to Find Your Last Frost Date
See, that was easy, right? Next, you need to determine the last frost date for your zone. Of course, this is approximate as well, but it’s the date where we begin. The Farmer’s Almanac has a super easy calculator to use. All you have to do is enter your zip code and they will show you the first and last frost dates for your zone.
CLICK HERE to access the frost finder.
For reference, this is what ours looks like for Alexandria, VA.
Let’s Do Math!
After that headline, I’m guessing 3/4 of you are groaning and rolling your eyes, and 1/4 of you already have your calculator pulled up on your phone. Am I right? Can I get an AMEN!?!?!? No worries, this is super simple math.
So you know your zone, and you know the last frost date in your zone. I’ll give you a few examples, but all you have to do is look on your seed packet to determine when to plant. Get out your calendar, and count the weeks back. That is when you can begin sowing indoors and planting outdoors. Easy, right?
When to Sow Indoors
I kept the “weeks out” generic, and also added the date specific to our zone, Zone 7, just so you can see how it works.
Our last frost is April 2nd and these are the EARLIEST dates to begin sowing your seeds indoors. This is what we are planting in our vegetable garden this year.
10 weeks out: (Jan 22)
8 weeks out (Feb 5)
6 weeks out (Feb 19)
4 weeks out (March 5)
When to Plant Outdoors
The same concept applies as to when to plant outdoors. The Farmer’s Almanac also has a calculator to determine when to start your indoor seeds and plant outdoors.
The best way to keep track of all of this information is in your journal. Write down the specifics to where you live, and then make a little chart. You can do this super basic, or if you #BuJo, you can be a little fancier, like this example.
Resources to Get You Started
More Gardening Resources You Will Love
That’s it, my friends! Easy to follow, right? Are you ready to start planting this year’s harvest? Be sure to pin for future reference.
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