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Patience, Patience…

February 18th, 2019

This time of year it can be difficult to keep excitement in check for the coming gardening season. The seed orders start arriving, the days are longer, the sun shines brighter and warmer, and things are starting to look like spring. It’s easy to get overexcited and start seeds way too early, I’m guilty of this as much as any gardener! It’s really best to wait and transplant things at the correct time. When held too long, plants get bigger and have more transplant shock, thus it actually sets them back and there’s nothing to be gained by starting them early.

Here in Maine, we’re lucky to have MOFGA (the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association). They have a wonderfully handy chart for seed starting and transplanting times. (here’s a link to their website where you can copy and print out a copy)

I have this printed out and hanging right by my seed starting area. I’ve noted in different starting dates for things I like to start earlier or later and I’ve added things to the chart that they don’t list (like basil). This would be an easy reference to copy and amend for your specific planting dates and climate. For example, I find that starting celery earlier than their given time works better for me. I also start onions a bit earlier (in the next week or two) as I like them to be a bit bigger at transplant because otherwise, I have issues with the robins pulling them up. This coming week I will be starting my early onions, which are ‘Purplette’ from Johnny’s Seeds.

Have you ever started seeds too early?

3 Comments to “Patience, Patience…”
  1. Chris on February 18, 2019 at 11:58 am

    Always! :)

    Reply to Chris's comment

  2. Sara on February 18, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Totally. Have gotten a bit better at this over the years, now I’d rather have smallish sets than stressed overgrown ones. It kind of drives me crazy when gardening folks on IG post seed starting pics WAY too early because I worry newbs following them for guidance will think they are behind.

    Reply to Sara's comment

  3. David Bentz on February 19, 2019 at 11:44 am

    Susy, do I start seeds too early? Ah, yah, like every year. I have learned to succession start with seeds. Our Springs have been so wild and unpredictable the past three or four years that a chart just wouldn’t do it. The window for planting has been variable and is six weeks. What would normally be planted in March, last year couldn’t be planted until May. It was a long cold Spring with frosts right up to the end of May. But then two years before the weather was warm and plants normally planted in May could have been planted in April. Then there’s that last frost in May that is never supposed to happen after May 15th for our area. I’ve learned not to believe that either and always have backup plants that can be planted in case the planted ones get frost bit. After the frost threat is over then comes the high wind or hail storm possibility. Maybe gardening has always been this way but it seems to me that the volatility of weather has ramped up in the last few years.

    Have a great day starting seeds.

    Nebraska Dave

    Reply to David Bentz's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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