Sunday, February 8, 2009

Planting Math

One of the hardest parts about gardening, in my mind, is the planning. I find the key to starting seeds is to have a chart of dates and number of weeks to the last frost date corresponding with actual dates. This takes some of the headache out of counting back every time you want to plant something. Here are some of the more common planting dates for zone 4a:

15 weeks: January 30
12 weeks: February 20
10 weeks: March 6
8 weeks: March 20
6 weeks: April 3
4 weeks: April 17
Last frost: May 15

That puts us just under 14 weeks right now. Of course these dates along with the seed starting date on the packages are just estimates, and you can alter these as much as you like as long as you are prepared to deal with the consequences- managing large plants indoors for longer, or shortening the season of outdoor growing and getting later maturity. From my experience last year, I know that violas are really easy to maintain indoors, as they don't get very tall. Snapdragons got a little tall last year with no grow light, but pruning is an easy fix to that. Rosemary has traditionally taken FOREVER to grow, and leeks also have a quite long growing season. Thus these will be the first varieties I will start, though I will likely hold off on the snaps just a tad longer so I don't have to fight 2 ft high plants at hardening off/transplant time.

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