When to Plant Outside Based on Climate Zone
Here at Seedsheet, our intent is to provide the ability to grow delicious and healthy produce anywhere in the country at any time of the year. To achieve this goal we have chosen seeds that are fast-growing, prolific, and almost completely climate independent, meaning they can be grown in Maine, California, and everywhere in between.
If you plan to grow your Seedsheet gardens primarily outside, weather is the greatest factor to consider when determining when to start your seeds and you will need to plant during the correct time frame for success. Planting at the wrong time may result in poor growth or even death to your plants.
Note that “planting” time windows differ from “growing” time windows. While these sound very similar, seeds started within the appropriate “planting” timeframe will grow well throughout the “growing” period. However, seeds that are planted outside of the “planting” window or within the “growing” timeframe will have inconsistent growth because the weather may become too hot too quickly for immature seedlings, resulting in foliage burning, or the weather may become too cold in the fall, resulting in a too-short growing period and not enough time for maturation and harvesting.
Depending on your geographic climate “zone” and the variety of plants you plan to cultivate, your planting season can be wildly different. For example, if you live in South Florida and plan to grow a Salad Seedsheet, which is relatively quick growing, you can successfully start a garden outside between the months of October and May, allowing for growth through the cooler winter and spring. Starting an outdoor garden in July would be far too hot for seedlings to thrive and they will likely burn to a crisp in the searing sun. For the same Salad Seedsheet, if you live in Northern Minnesota, the optimal planting timeframe is shorter, between May and July, allowing for growth throughout the warmer summer months. If you were to plant in October, it is likely that a frost will kill any seedlings that germinate before you can successfully harvest a crop. Check the diagram below to see when the best time to plant a Salad Seedsheet is for your location!
Some seed varieties take longer to mature before harvesting is possible and thus should be planted as soon as the weather allows to give them the greatest window for growth. These include peppers and tomatoes, like the Sungold Cherry Tomato in the Pizza Seedsheet. For example, a Pizza Seedsheet in Ohio should not be planted any later than June, as the tomato plant will not have time to mature and produce those sweet and juicy orange tomatoes. Check the diagram below to see when the best time to plant a Pizza Seedsheet is for your location!
Some areas throughout the country, like Central and Southern Texas, or Southern California, actually have two planting windows (those lucky ducks!). This means that their weather is generally supportive for growth during the early spring, and again in the fall, with the hottest parts of the summer being the most difficult to grow in.
As likely evident in your regional climate, weather patterns are shifting and can be somewhat irregular from year to year. This means that you should be diligent about checking your local and regional forecast, especially if you live in an area that experiences springtime frost, like New England. With each Seedsheet gardening kit, we provide general appropriate planting timeframes for each area of the country, but the best plan of action when determining when to plant your garden is to wait until your weather stabilizes above 55F (especially at night!).
We recommend starting your container gardens indoors about 10-14 days before moving them outside. This gives your garden a stable and safe environment in which to germinate. While watching your forecast, your garden can be transitioned outside once one pod of seedlings has reached 1-inch in height. It is perfectly normal and acceptable if not all of your pods have germinated at the time of transition. If your weather is warm and sunny throughout the day, but temperatures dip at night, you can leave your garden outside during the day and bring your garden indoors at night to protect them from the cold.
Symptoms to watch for if your weather is variable and chilly in the spring include delayed germination, significantly slow or stagnant growth, or discoloration of leaves, shifting yellow, orange, or red.
If, on the flipside, your local weather has been very warm and sunny, remember to adequately water your garden as the soil will dry out much faster in these conditions. Check the soil by lifting the black weed-blocking fabric between pods and sticking a finger into the soil. It should feel damp, but not muddy. If the top two inches are bone dry, you may need to water twice per day, once in the morning before it gets too hot, and again later in the evening when the sun is less intense. Direct the stream of water towards the soil at the base of the plants as water left on foliage can magnify light and burn areas of the leaves.
Check the map included in your Seedsheet Garden packaging to determine the optimal time to plant outside in your area and reach out to our Support Team if you have any questions!
If you are planning for future planting seasons, find your Seedsheet variety below to check the optimal time to plant for your area.
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