How to Know When to Plant Seeds


Flower and vegetable seeds do best when planted at the proper time under good growing conditions. Planting zones, weather, temperature and soil conditions all play into the successful germination process of a seed. A new or seasoned gardener must pay attention to the needs of each type of seed. Garden soil that is too cold or wet early in the season will stall growth or cause deterioration of the seed. Learn to read the growing conditions and when to plant seeds in your region of the country.

Step 1

Read the packet that the particular kind of vegetable, fruit or flower seeds was stored in. There should be instructions on when to plant the seeds.

Step 2

Check to make sure that the garden is free of frost, standing water and any remnants of snow. Take a temperature reading with a garden or compost thermometer. The ground temperature should match the instructions on the seed packet, if available.

Step 3

Look up the USDA hardiness zone region maps and charts for your area at to learn the specific growing zone your garden is in.

Step 4

Plant indoor seeds according to package directions. This can usually be done 6 weeks or so before the average danger of frost is past in your area.

Step 5

Call your local county extension office if you need further help to determine when to plant your garden seeds. The extension members and Master Gardeners will be attuned to the current weather and soil conditions.

Tips and Warnings

  • Planting your seeds too early in cold ground will halt any possibility of germination until the ground warms up. Seeds may rot if they get too wet and stay cold too long.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed packets
  • Garden or compost thermometer
  • Zone chart


  • How to Prepare, Plant and Grow New Plants From Seeds

Who Can Help

  • Washington State University Extension: Seed Germination
  • Organic Gardener magazine: Seed Starting Chart
Keywords: planting seeds, garden, growing zones

About this Author

Suzie Faloon is a freelance writer who has written ad copy and online content for Demand Studios and Associated Content. As a professional crafter and floral designer, Faloon owned a florist business for nearly 25 years. She completed the Institute of Chilldren's Literature course in 1988.