Each Botanical Interests seed packet is rich with information on the outside and inside to guide you through each step of growing from seed to ensure your gardening success. A unique aspect of sowing seed the Botanical Interests way is using the average last frost date. You’ll discover that sowing seed based on your average last frost date is best because it’s based on your own garden’s climate.
When is the correct time to sow seed in my garden?
Botanical Interests uses the average last frost date as a guideline for when to sow seed. We identify this as the first day in spring when there is less than a 50% chance a frost will occur.
If you don't already know your average last frost date, contact your local independent garden center or local county Cooperative Extension Service Office. There are also websites that provide maps and charts with frost dates specific to your state, city, or zip code. Use that date as a guideline to sow seed at the correct time for your location. It’s also helpful to know your average first frost date in the fall so you can determine the number of days in your growing season as well as plan your summer and fall sowings.
Should I start my seeds indoors or outdoors?
Nature sows directly outdoors. It’s often the easiest and best way to get the results you expect, and you’ll save time sowing directly in the garden as soon as the soil can be worked.
Often, plants sown directly outdoors are more vigorous and healthier than transplants. Large-seeded crops such as beans, corn, and squash germinate quickly when sown directly into the soil, often within a few days. Root crops such as carrots, beets, turnips, and radishes should always be sown where they are going to grow so their roots develop undisturbed.
Some seed varieties can be started either indoors or in the garden. We help guide you with our recommendation on each packet.
Starting Your Garden Outdoors
On the inside of every packet you will find the best growing conditions for the variety. We provide information about special care, organic gardening methods, and tips to improve your garden throughout the seasons. Also read our outdoor sowing guides to help determine when to sow which varieties: Spring: Edibles, Spring: Ornamentals, Late Summer and Fall.
Soil: Your soil may be very different from soil that’s in a neighboring yard. A soil test can help you determine what type of soil you have and provide suggestions for improving it. You will want to use a soil thermometer to determine the temperature of the soil right before sowing, as optimal seed germination temperatures vary by variety. Soil test kits and soil thermometers can be found at your local garden center, or you can contact your local county Cooperative Extension Service Office for information about soil testing.
Water: After sowing seed, soil should be kept moist, but not soggy, making sure the top layer of soil where the seed is growing stays moist. Depending on your garden’s climate, you may need to water more than once a day to keep the seed and soil moist. Too little moisture can prevent the seed from germinating, while too much water can contribute to seed rot.
Light: Sunlight is essential for plant growth. Most flowers and vegetables need at least eight hours of direct sun during the day. An uninterrupted period of light is best, but sun exposure can be split into morning and afternoon sun. Some plants will grow in light shade or partial shade—a few hours of direct sun each day and filtered sunlight through trees or structures the rest of the day. A few types of plants will be happy in complete shade or filtered or indirect sun.
Use our garden journal templates and lists to help you keep track of which seeds you started and when. By following these guidelines and keeping a journal, all that’s left to do is watch your seeds grow into viable and healthy plants!