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When to Sow Over 80 Vegetables and Herbs

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Trying to understand when to sow various herbs and vegetables can be frustrating. Source:, &

Wouldn’t life be easier for gardeners if there were only one date at which we could sow all our garden edibles indoors? Say April 15, or May 10? That would be the day when all gardeners around the world should sow their tomatoes, leeks, beans, etc., everyone all at once, on the same day.

But that will never happen. Some vegetables and herbs need to be started indoors two months or more before planting out, others, only a few weeks, and still others prefer being sown directly outdoors where they are to grow. And the right planting-out date is also necessarily going to vary depending on your local climate: risk of frost diminishes more rapidly in mild climates than cold ones, often as early as March, so gardeners living there can plant out their seedlings extra early, while gardeners from cold climates may still have frost concerns well into June. Plus, there’ll always be a 6-month difference in planting dates between gardeners in the Southern and Northern Hemsipheres.

So the “everybody sows their veggie seeds on one day” idea is just never going to happen.

How to Find the Right Date

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Many seeds need a head start indoors. Source:

You’ll see below a list that gives appropriate dates for sowing vegetables and herbs regardless of your local situation, all based on when you calculate you can safely transplant them to your garden.

Of course, it’s first up to you find when that safe date is. And this planting-out date it will probably not be the last frost date you might have seen mentioned for your area. The last frost date quoted is almost always the average date of the last spring frost and by definition, average means “half the time.” Therefore, if you use the last frost date as the date you intend to put your seedlings in the garden, expect it to be too cold about one year out of two! Not very useful!

That’s way I recommend figuring out, based on your own experience or that of a neighbor who gardens if you’re a beginner, a date some 10 to 14 days later, when both the soil and the air normally warm enough for your plant out in safely. That’s the planting-out date you want to use to calculate when to sow seeds.

For example, where I live, the official last frost date is June 1st, but that refers to the average date of last frost. That’s why I usually use June 10 as a safe date for me to plant seedlings outdoors and it’s the one I use in calculating when to start my seedlings.

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Subtract the number of weeks indoors from your planting-out date to find the correct indoor sowing date.

So, figure your transplant date and start counting backwards to find the right sowing for each variety that interests you on the following list.

For example, if you check broccoli on the list below, you’ll see “8 weeks” cited. That means to sow it indoors 8 weeks before your safe planting-out date. If your safe planting-out date is May 15, sow broccoli indoors on (or around) March 15. If it’s June 1st, sow it indoors April 1st. Etc.

Sowing Dates for Vegetables and Herbs

  1. Amaranth (Amaranthus caudatus, A. cruentus and A. hypocondiacus) 4 weeks
  2. Angelica (Angelica archangelica) 8 weeks
  3. Anise (Pimpinella anisum) 8 weeks
  4. Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) 10 weeks
  5. Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) 8 weeks
  6. Aubergine (Solanum melongena) 8 weeks
  7. Balm, Lemon (Melissa officinalis) 10 weeks
  8. Basil (Ocimum basilicum and others) 4 weeks
  9. Bean, Broad (Vicia fava) Sow outdoors
  10. Bean, Dwarf French (Phaseolus vulgaris humilis) Sow outdoors
  11. Bean, Fava (Vicia fava) Sow outdoors
  12. Bean, Pole (Phaseolus vulgaris and P. coccineus) 2 weeks or sow outdoors
  13. Bean, Scarlet Runner (Phaseolus coccineus) 2 weeks or sow outdoors
  14. Beet, Beetroot (Beta vulgaris Condivita group) Sow outdoors
  15. Borage (Borago officinalis) 8 weeks
  16. Broccoli (Brassica oleracea italica) 8 weeks
  17. Brussels Sprouts (Brassica oleracea gemmifera) 4 weeks
  18. Cabbage (Brassica oleracea capitata) 5 weeks
  19. Cantaloup (Cucumis melo) 3 weeks
  20. Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) 10 weeks
  21. Carrot (Daucus carota) Sow outdoors
  22. Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea botrytis) 8 weeks
  23. Celery (Apium graveolens) 8 weeks
  24. Chamomile, German (Matricaria chamomilla, syn. Matricaria recutita) 6 weeks
  25. Chamomile, Roman (Chamaemelum nobile, syn. Anthemis nobile) 8 weeks
  26. Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) 6 weeks
  27. Chicory (Chichorium intybus) 4 weeks
  28. Chinese Cabbage (Brassica rapa pekinensis) Sow outdoors
  29. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) 4 weeks
  30. Chives, Garlic (Allium tuberosum) 4 weeks
  31. Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) 5 weeks or sow outdoors
  32. Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) 5 weeks or sow outdoors
  33. Corn (Zea mays) Sow outdoors
  34. Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) 2 weeks or sow outdoors
  35. Dill (Anethum graveolens) 6 weeks
  36. Eggplant (Solanum melongena) 8 weeks
  37. Endive (Chichorium endivia) 6 weeks
  38. Escarole (Chichorium endivia) 6 weeks
  39. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) 4 weeks
  40. Ground cherry (Physalis pruinosa) 8 weeks
  41. Hyssope (Hyssopus officinalis) 8 weeks
  42. Kale (Brassica oleracea acephala) 6 weeks
  43. Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea gongylodes) 4 weeks or sow outdoors
  44. Lavander (Lavandula angustifolia) 14 weeks
  45. Leek (Allium porrum) 12 weeks
  46. Lentil (Lens culinaris) Sow outdoors
  47. Lettuce (Lactuca sativus) 4 weeks or sow outdoors
  48. Maize (Zea mays) Sow outdoors
  49. Majorum (Origanum majorana, syn. O. hortensis) 6 weeks
  50. Melon (Cucumis melo) 3 weeks
  51. Mint (Mentha spp.) 8 weeks
  52. Mizuna (Brassica juncea japonica) 4 weeks
  53. Okra (Abelmochus esculentus) 8 weeks
  54. Onion (Allium cepa) 8 weeks
  55. Oregano (Origanum vulgare) 6 weeks
  56. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) 6 weeks
  57. Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) Sow outdoors
  58. Pea (Pisum sativum) Sow outdoors
  59. Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) 6 weeks
  60. Pepper (Capsicum annuum and others) 9 weeks
  61. Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo and others) 3 weeks or sow outdoors
  62. Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) 6 weeks
  63. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) Sow outdoors
  64. Radicchio (Chichorium intybus) 4 weeks
  65. Radish (Raphanus sativus) Sow outdoors
  66. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) 6 weeks
  67. Sage, Common (Salvia officinalis) 8 weeks
  68. Savory, Summer (Satureja hortensis) 4 weeks
  69. Shallot (Allium cepa aggregatum) 8 weeks
  70. Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) 4 weeks or sow outdoors
  71. Spinach, New Zealand (Tetragona expansa) 3 weeks
  72. Squash (Cucurbita pepo and others) 3 weeks or sow outdoors
  73. Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris Flavescens Group) Sow outdoors
  74. Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) 8 weeks
  75. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris and others) 8 weeks
  76. Tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa and P. philadelphica) 6 weeks
  77. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) 6 weeks
  78. Turnip (Brassica rapa rapifera) Sow outdoors
  79. Vegetable Marrow (Cucurbita pepo and others) 3 weeks or sow outdoors
  80. Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) 3 weeks
  81. Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo and others) 3 weeks or sow outdoors20180207, & .jpg

3 comments on “When to Sow Over 80 Vegetables and Herbs

  1. Pingback: Gather Materials Before Sowing Indoors – Laidback Gardener

  2. Pingback: Organize Your Seed Packets According to Their Sowing Date – Laidback Gardener

  3. Thanks a lot!

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