I would say about a month or little more before you would normally direct seed very early spring stuff. I usually do a few each week thru-out March. I think it is important to have enough daylight hours. By the end of February we have about 10-1/2 daylight hours. You may begin in early February in your area.
Hansey and Sissy, I think that you CAN put out your jugs of hardy annuals and perennials (including coneflowers) after the Solstice. . . but I usually wait till mid-February to begin putting out my jugs. All during that month and into March I'm prepping my seeds and setting out my containers with great pleasure!
It's probably because I'm so busy in December that I don't get my WS seeds out then--a few things going on around those last weeks of December! And January is kind of catch-up. By February I'm ready.
Oh, well that makes me feel better. A bit of panic there as in December, it just isn't going to happen. We're going to Vegas for two weeks in February, so I was planning on getting the jugs ready now and having them outside by the time we leave.
Whew... I can handle January or February. I'll be needing a dirt-fix by then... (soil, I know, soil, not dirt!) :^)
Just don't startle me like that again! ~~BIG GRIN~~
My collie thinks my nose is deformed - he's trying to stretch it into a collie nose.
It does seem like Feb is vacation month for us Midwesterners... if i know i'll be gone a while, i do some in Jan and the other perennials in March... then the tender annuals in April - give or take, depending on the weather.