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When to start seeds

Planting calendar is useful when starting vegetable seeds indoors

With daylight lasting a bit longer day by day, avid gardeners are hankering to plant.

“If you start vegetable plants indoors, it is often helpful to list seeding dates on a calendar so that plants are ready for transplanting at the proper time,” says Ward Upham, Kansas State University horticulturist.

“To do this, gardeners should choose their transplant date and count back the number of weeks necessary to grow their own transplants.”

For example in Kansas, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are usually transplanted in late March to early April. It takes eight weeks from seeding to transplant size, he said, so those plants should be seeded in early February.

Information on how many weeks it takes to grow transplants is available at http://www.hfrr.ksu.edu/doc3587.ashx.

Upham provides a list of common vegetables grown for transplants and a recommended date for seeding, adding that the dates are Saturdays because that’s when many homeowners have the most free time.

·        Cabbage, Broccoli and Cauliflower – Seeding Date: Feb. 8 and transplant date: April 5.

·        Lettuce – Seeding date: Feb. 8 and transplant date: April 5.

·        Peppers – Seeding date: March 22 and transplant date: May 17.

·        Tomatoes – Seeding date: March 29 and transplant date: May 10

“The dates are not set in stone,” he says. “A week earlier or later will not ruin the plants. Gardeners may want to seed a week or two earlier if they are in southern Kansas and possibly a week later if in northern Kansas.”

He also suggests growers keep notes on how well the transplants did so they can tweak the planting schedule.

“Depending on location in the state, local conditions may result in plants that need a bit more or a bit less time,” he says.

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