How to Know When to Start Your Garden Plants


Long-time gardeners know that to produce the best vegetables, it's often smart to start seeds indoors to give the plants a head start on the growing season. The key to starting seeds is to understand whether they are cool weather plants or warm weather plants. Seeds are started in either growing flats or peat pots; in some instances they are transplanted to larger pots before being put in the ground at the right time of the season.

Step 1

Start cool weather plants, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, approximately six weeks before the soil can be worked in the spring.

Step 2

Start slow to germinate crops, such as peppers or eggplant, eight weeks before the last frost date in your area.

Step 3

Start tomatoes and squash plants three to four weeks before the last frost date.

Step 4

Transplant the young plants to larger 6-inch pots if weather conditions keep you from transplanting to the garden at the normal time.

Things You'll Need

  • Vegetable seeds


  • University of Minnesota: Planting the Vegetable Garden
  • North Dakota State University: Start Thinking About Planting Seeds for Your Garden
  • Virginia Tech University: Fall Vegetable Gardening
Keywords: start vegetable plants, early garden starts, start garden early

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.