When should I start my veggie seeds inside in zone 5b?

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

I've always bought plants to plant in my veggie garden...if I start them from seeds this winter...when should I start them inside? How many weeks before my last frost date? Is there a list somewhere to go by online a site anywhere?

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Thanks, JodyC...those links will be helpful to others also.

By the way, what are you gonna be planting this year? (I'm the curious sort, ya know!)


Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

Hi Horseshoe...I'm going to try a bit of everything..lol..Tomatoes,I'm trying 24 different heirlooms and most of them the blacks and purples a couple of reds,plums a few cherries,Peas,snow and regular,beans pole,and bush,lots of different greens...I started Ruby red swiss chard inside,I'm attempting to get at least a batch out of them...different kinds of lettus,I have only grow leaf lettus before...I'm going to try several bunching,head,including cos.I'm not sure I spelled that right...Mom bought me a freezer for my b-day last summer and I'd like to start eating what I grow instead of what the store sends across the country half ripe..lol..not to mention all the chemicals...not saying I wouldn't use them if I had to...
I have a few heirloom corn,squash,watermelon,cantalope/muskmelon,okra...I need to learn how to keep them from cross breeding,to save the pure heirloom strain of seed...I have lots to learn before they start flowering...I guess about 100 different varieties of about 30 species

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Wow! what a great garden you're gonna have! And for all the right reasons, too!

Congrats on the freezer, too. I freeze quite a bit of stuff (some things I canned for years though).

Hope you keep us posted throughout your gardening year with updates and "braggin' rights"!

Happy Growing. Happy Gardening!


Brimfield, MA(Zone 5a)

Hi Jody,

I'm in zone 5 too and I started with seeds for my first time last year and now I'm hooked!!! I made a lot of mistakes that I know than to repeat this year ha ha ha. I used to use seedlings (tomatoes and peppers only) and I always used May 15th as my last frost date. I've heard a lot of people in Z5 say they have gotten frosts after that date and they wait until much later, but I never seem to have the patience to hold off for another week or two. I can barely wait as is stands right now! What types of tomatoes are you growing, do you mind sharing your list? I'm curious what another Z5'er is growing this year. BTW, if you want to try Beefsteak, Rutgers or Bloody Butcher, lemme know and I can send some out to you! :)


Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

Hi Megan..I already have all the tomato seeds you mentioned..I alread started bloody butcher inside,I'm attempting to get some very early tomatoes...I'll get my toamot list and post it...I'm still looking for brown berry...:-)
Cherokee chocolate
purple calabash
pruden's purple
Paul Robeson
cherokee purple
Black prince
Black krim
black from tula
black cherry
black sea man
black plum-paste
black prince
black russian
bloody butcher
Japanese black trifele
speckled roman
marianna's peace
amish paste
anna russian
aunt ginny's purple
Amazon chocolate
paul Robeson
eva purple ball
bullís heart
olena ukrainian
i have a few more I'm planting a total of 26 cultivars of tomatoes...:-) i plan to pick my favorite few and save the seeds,and next year try another 20 or so and do the same,pick my favorites...:-)

Mesilla Park, NM

Hi Jody,
I'm starting veggies too this year for the first time from seed. except peas, I tried those last year (and trying several more this year, I love peas).

I'm also trying several of the black varieties of tomatoes from SeedSavers and another place. Watermelons and almost everything you mentioned. I think we are going to be exhausted.

Also, I'm so glad for this beginners forum. Even though I've been on Dave's a long time, I've alot to learn and this is the perfect place for me..

Veggie 101 , lol. just what I need.

This message was edited Feb 13, 2007 1:01 PM

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

Me too!!!! I like a beginner forum..I've been here for awhile also,but I'm a beginner on the veggie gardening from seeds anyway..:-) Jody
edited,because my typing isn't very good..lol..

This message was edited Feb 14, 2007 2:35 PM

Independence, MO(Zone 6a)

Wow! All those tomatoes! I'm in awe. Back in the Dark Ages I grew 8 tomato plants one year & had 'em coming out of my ears. A very happy time it was. No memory whatsoever of variety, just bought plants from the local nursery. If you ever need a recipe for fried green tomatoes, let me know.

Re when to start 'em: I got Burpee's book of vegetable & herb gardening, it has an organic orientation. It's an encyclopedia, everything is listed. It says, like, 8-10 weeks before last frost do this, then 3 weeks later do this, then 2 weeks after that do this. Very useful. I bought a little appointment book and wrote down each plant's schedule. Our (6a lens in a 5b region) last frost is estimated tb Apr 15, so that's how my veggie work is timed this year. I haven't grown veggies, exc for some miserable tomatoes in pots, since the early 80's, and never from seeds. Not that I haven't tried, but when your cat can leap to the top of the fridge, no place is safe for seedlings. Oh, yes, I grew swiss chard last year, in a pot - just sowed them outdoors. A smashing success. I hate to buy them in a store now!

I plan to grow: artichokes, leeks, hyssop, rue, tomatoes (Ladybug cherries, Brandywine, and red currants), husk cherries, snow peas, bok choi, swiss chard again, lettuce 'Four Seasons', mesclun, dill, marigolds, sunflowers, and potatoes 'Bintje'. The potatoes & leeks I intend to put into pots, and everything else will go into a raised bed -- I don't bend in the middle like I used to. I've started the arti's, leeks, and hyssop indoors, and they're just as lively as can be. The arti's especially like to lift weights and do a lot of boasting around the leeks. All my seedlings are on heat mat under lights.

My little schedule has me sowing rue and the Ladybug cherry tomatoes this weekend. Also tb sown indoors are the other tomatoes, the husk cherries, and the bok choi. I'm going to follow Ronniger's suggestion and chit my pound of seed potatoes before putting them in their big pots, and plant the leek seedlings around them. Both can be hilled up by my dumping more soil in the pots as we go. Everything else I plan to sow in the raised bed. The snow peas I plan to sow outdoors in mid-March, and then in early May when the Burpee book thinks they'll be done (or just about) I can replace them wth the tomatoes.

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

Great information,I'm also making a schedual for planting my seeds.I have several catalogs and a seed starting book,I have the dates written next to the plants..as to when to start them inside..I bought another 4 tier greenhouse for inside and I need a few more shop lights...:-) I only have 4 and need about 8 of them..lol..how do you grow artichokes,I dodn't think they would grow in our zone..:-)

Nantucket, MA(Zone 7a)

Jody, did you get the new Green Mt catalog yet? I am working on my order today. Mostly flowers, but I think I will try a few of their veg. transplants. I will get some regular peppers, tomatoes (I like their list) and some of their unusual basils. I ordered those(basil) last year and they all did very well. I will start as always a ton of reg basil of pesto from seed. If you have the list, could you look at it and let me know which tomatoes they are growing that you think are special. I haven't grown any for years, but I think I will do a nice patch this year. I am missing our homemade sauce especially this winter. Hope you and your mom are well. Patti

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

No I haven't received it yet..but I was very happy with what I ordered from them last year..I DO plan to order some things from them again this year...I'll be growing most everything from seed this year..my Dad is moving out into his own place...so finacially I'm on my own pretty much...

Independence, MO(Zone 6a)

Someone asked about artichokes. I don't know if this works but I'm following Burpee's instructions and I can only keep my fingers crossed.

Arti's are biennials, and as we eat the flower buds we have to convince the seeds that they've already sprouted and spent the winter in Santa Barbara. Fortunately they're not terribly bright. Soak the arti seeds for 8 hrs, then put them in the fridge in damp sand for two weeks. Then they go into 3" pots and onto a heat mat. The book said they then take 2-3 weeks at 75 degrees to sprout, but mine were comparing each others' "Santa Barbara tans" less than a week later. They're big burly fellows, still less than 3 weeks in their pots. I'm to feed them every 10 days, or else they'll break out of the seed nursery and eat the cat food. The book says when they have produced their first true leaves I'm to transplant them to 5" pots. Finally, when they're big enough to steal the car keys, I'm to harden them off and transplant them outdoors about a week before last frost.

The book recommends that when the central bud appears, to harvest it first; then the side shoots will develop and produce several more buds. If you allow the central bud to bloom that may be the only flower bud you see. They're martyrs to aphids, so if you plant a trap plant or repellant nearby they will thank you. I plan to put rue in around them. They can grow to 6' and prefer full sun. The seeds are viable for yonks, and a packet from Park Seeds cost about the same as a single artichoke in the grocery store, so it made sense to me to see if I could get one to sprout and bud up.

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