In the Garden:
Mid-Atlantic
January, 2013
Regional Report

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4310

Start seeds for cool-season veggies like cabbage, lettuce, broccoli early indoors. Plant seeds of root vegetables and heat lovers like beans, squash directly in the soil.

Sowing Seeds - When and Where

I'm sorting through last year's leftover seed packs. My first decision is which seeds to plant early in the season -- to start indoors under grow lights. I'll move those plants into a cold frame when they're strong and large enough to tolerate chilly nights. They'll go into the garden early to mid-spring after the last frost.

On the other hand, which vegetable seeds do best sown directly in the garden soil and when?

Plants are particular about the weather. Like us, some vegetables sprout and grow best in cool spring weather. I'd be in that category as I'm on my best behavior in spring and autumn -- comfortable, pleasant, energetic, and productive. (I can get cranky in summer heat.) Other seeds germinate best in warm soil to thrive as plants in the hot summer sun.

Below are lists of what seeds to plant -- how, when, and where. If you're using seeds older than last year's, best to do a germination test to determine if they're are still viable. Some have a short shelf-life and are best bought new each spring and summer: lettuce, onion, parsnip, spinach. Other seeds better withstand time and storage, including beans, beets, Chinese cabbage, crucifers, cucumber, eggplant, kale, melons, peas, pepper, tomato, squash. Plant seeds in a sterilized, soilless mix.

Cool-season Plant Seeds Sown Directly in the Garden

  • Shelling, Snow, and Sugar Peas
  • Potatoes - White and Sweet
  • Beet
  • Dill
  • Radish
  • Spinach

Cool-Season Plants Started Indoors Under Grow Lights for Early to Mid-Spring Planting
  • Calendula
  • Cilantro
  • Chinese cabbage: Bok Choy, Pak Choi
  • Crucifers - Broccoli, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard

Warm-season Vegetables and Herbs Started Indoors for Outdoor Transplant
  • Basil
  • Celery
  • Eggplant
  • Pepper
  • Tomato
  • Melons

Warm-Season Vegetables and Annuals Sown Directly in the Garden
  • Marigold
  • Nasturtium
  • Zinnia
  • Bush and Pole Beans - Asparagus, Green, Yellow, Purple, Lima, Roma
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Parsnip
  • Scallion
  • Summer Squash
  • Winter Squash


Check the seed germination rate and plant accordingly. For example, if only half the seeds germinate, plant twice as many seeds per area as noted on the seed pack.

Happy gardening!


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