For first time gardeners and even those who have tons of experience, knowing exactly when to plant your seeds each season can be tricky. Maybe you just moved to a new area, or maybe like me you just never seem to remember the best time to plant seeds for your zone!
Whatever the reason, this automated seed starting guide is exactly what you need!
Just put in your last frost date and the spreadsheet will calculate when you need to start seeds indoors, and when to put them in the ground (as seedlings or as seeds)!
Why We Use a Seed Starting Guide
When we started a garden on our own for the first time 2 years ago we knew 2 things...
1. We needed the effort to be minimal. This is why we ended up trying the Back to Eden gardening method since it boasted "no weeding and no watering".
That's my kind of vegetable gardening method!!
2. We accepted that we knew NOTHING about when to plant for our zone. This meant that we needed to do a little research and fortunately the local county extension office had a great planting guide specifically for our area!
We were so excited that there was a "when to plant" seed starting guide, not only for our zone, but for our town that we followed it exactly and had amazing results!
Related: When to Plant Pumpkins for a Halloween & Thanksgiving Harvest
"When to Plant" Seed Starting Guide
What we didn't realize at the time was that the guide wasn't actually all that hard to create for any zone.
You just take the last frost date and calculate days before or after for each plant you want to grow... but while that's simple, it's not quick right?
Unless you have an automated tool that calculates all that for you! Well, good news! I made one for you!
Just enter your last frost date in the field noted and the tool does the rest of the work and gives you all of the following information sorted by plant variety!
- Indoor Start Date for Transplants
- Outdoor Transplant Date
- Direct Seed Date
- Germination Length
- Dates to Maturity
- Links to Order Seeds Listed
And one of the best parts is, you can sort by any of the columns!
The default setting is that the plants are alphabetized in the first column. But if you wanted to see the information by harvest date, just sort by that field with the built in sort feature! (Sort A -> Z or vise versa, even for date fields)
This makes it really easy to plan your garden and gives you the ability to know confidently when to plant your seeds!
Once you have everything sorted and organized the way you want it, click print to print just the guide and place it in your homestead journal, or just stick it on the fridge!
START SEEDS INSIDE WITH THIS EASY SEED STARTER PROJECT!
Beyond Knowing When to Plant...
Once you know when and what to plant in your area, you also really need the best seeds! Heirloom and organic seeds from White Harvest Seeds are our favorites!
Though we've tried many different companies over the years, we always come back to White Harvest Seeds, because of the excellent germination rate and the wonderful produce we get!
Check out White Harvest Seed Company here!
Get the Free Automated Seed Starting Guide
This download is part of our exclusive members only download. But it's totally free! So go ahead and join us for all our past, present, and future free library listing!
If you're already a member, head to our members only page and enter the password from the bottom of the last newsletter!
Hello. I’m trying to get the planner and I can’t seem to find a password to get in.
Hi Michelle! The password is in the confirmation email that you receive after joining our member’s only newsletter. You can join at the bottom of any post.
If you are already a member, please email me at Victoria@amodernhomestead.com and I will get you the password :-)
Hello! This looks very handy. Do you have one for planting in the fall? Or an idea on how to make this one work for fall planting?
Hi Amy! I don’t have one for fall, but to create one you’d need to calculate TO the first frost date, instead of FROM the last frost date.
So, if you wanted to plant something with a 50 days to maturity rate, then you’d want to make sure it was planted at least 50 days from your first frost date (as appropriate).
I hope that helps! I may make a fall one for next year!
Thanks for this — very helpful!
There are a lot of rows marked “direct sow” that also say to “start indoors” (for example, green onions).
Isn’t that a contradiction? What am I missing?
Hey Phil, really good question. I made this so long ago, I had to stop and realllllly think about why I would have done that!
I *believe* after looking at the dates that if you were going to transplant them, that would be the date to start them indoors… but direct sow would be the easiest way to do it. I have friends who transplant EVERYTHING to extend their growing season, so I’m about 99% sure that’s what I was thinking.
Sorry about the confusion! You can also just ignore those dates and look at the direct sow dates instead :-)
Ah ha! That seems like a perfectly reasonable answer. Thank you for such a prompt reply (and such a nice spreadsheet!)
This is such a fantastic resource! Thank you for sharing.
Yay! You’re so welcome!