Sowing Seeds: A Guide to Starting and Planting Seeds

Planting seeds is simple, but knowing when to plant them requires a bit more thought.

| February 2011

purple and sweet basil seedlings

Purple and sweet basil seedlings emerge from the soil. Start basil and other heat-loving edibles indoors to get a head start on the season; transplant them outside once the weather warms.

Photo By Jackie Connelly/Courtesy Timber Press

The following is an excerpt from "Sugar Snaps and Strawberries: Simple Solutions for Creating Your Own Small-Space Edible Garden" by Andrea Bellamy (Timber Press, 2010). The excerpt is from Chapter 7: Sowing Seeds. 

Time to get your hands dirty. Starting seeds is easy. You just push a seed into the dirt, right? Sure, the how is simple, but the when requires a bit more thought.

Plant a seed too early, and cold temperatures will prevent it from germinating. Plant it too late, and it won’t have time to grow up and produce fruit before winter chills hit. Catching that planting window is the key to seed-starting success.

Of course, you don’t have to start all your edibles from seed: buying ready-to-plant veggies from the nursery does have its merits. Whichever route you choose, this chapter will teach you how to get your garden started.

Sowing Seeds 

I never fail to be amazed by seeds—or the incredible bounty that I can harvest from what began as tiny, shriveled specks. Some beginning gardeners regard seed starting with a healthy dose of fear, but the fact is, seeds are designed to survive, thrive, and eventually reproduce. We simply help them along by providing a little loving care.

elderberry, echinacea, bee hive


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