When to start seeds in Zone 5A

jim_w_ny(Zone 5a)February 6, 2012

I have a small double glass green house (8'x16'). Rarely used for seed starting. So when should I start planting seeds? Most will b potted up for putting in the garden.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

is the house heated???

they generate a lot of heat during the day .. but can get really cold at night.. and until you can maintain at least 60 to 70 degrees at night ... i dont think you can grow seeds nor maintain seedlings...

when i used to do a few seeds.. INDOORS... i learned not to start until almost march .. since last frost/freeze was nearly 6/1 in my z5 .... so though i understand the itch to get going.. i suspect you are at least a month away ... which is the perfect time to be planning it all ...

if you have any local greenhouses nearby.. a quick call to them.. might get you their schedule ... and give you an idea for your area ...

z5 is pretty wide ranging.. how about giving us the closest large city for reference ...

and also give us an idea of what you want to grow ... some things.. perennials .. might not mind the cold this time of year.. to stratify the seed ... but its way early for tender annuals .. IMHO ...

more info please ...


    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 9:09AM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

The heat, as Ken mentioned, is one thing, what you're planting is another. Inside I will be starting petunias, coleus and impatiens in about two weeks.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 12:33PM
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With supplemental heating a greenhouse that size could be used to start seeds relatively early. Without a heater I suspect that you're a few weeks away from safely starting cold-tolerant annuals like pansies and snapdragons.

When to sow otherwise depends on what you're growing. It's past time to plant Lisianthus for example, if you want a long flowering season. I sowed seed of a wax begonia variety last night, because I know from experience the last time I grew it (when it was planted 3/15) that if I want blooms before July it has to be sown earlier.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 1:46PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

With supplemental heating a greenhouse that size could be used to start seeds relatively early.

===>>> but what i think i was trying to say.. is that it important to time it out.. so that they are in peak condition .. WHEN THEY CAN GO OUT OF THE HOUSE ...

having them early.. and spindly and ugly.. by 6/1 ... isnt good ...

i would rather have a young strong plant ready to go out in my z5 on 6/1 .. then grandma looking like she is ready to kick the bucket ...


    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 3:42PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Determine your last average frost date and count weeks backward from there to determine appropriate time to sow seeds indoors - weeks to planting out will be shown on the back of the seed package.

I know it is very tempting, but you don't want to start too early, or you'll end up with spindly, pale plants - you want healthy, stocky transplants.

I'm in zone 6, and I plan on 3rd week of May as my goal planting week. Most vegetables get started 4 weeks ahead of that, flowers 6-8 weeks, although some flowers may take a bit longer - again, check the seed package, and I would also suggest cross-referencing with any books/other materials you may have. :0)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 11:04AM
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This is a handy online Seed Starting Calculator that I refer to. Don't forget to enter your safe no-frost date at the top of the table. If you don't know your safe no-frost date, let me know and I will show you how to find that for your location.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 5:31PM
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jim_w_ny(Zone 5a)

The other day the inside of the greenhouse was 40 degrees warmer than the outside. So why worry about such things as last frost? If super low temps are forecast take steps like a heater or covering the seedlings?

Which takes me back to the original question. I guess whenever I'm ready. It becomes then more a matter of when to transplant them to avoid damage.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 10:36AM
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