Deciphering Seed Packet Information for Successful Planting

So many people want to know when to start seeds, how deep to plant them, or when to plant them. Did you know that the back of the seed packet will tell you all of that?

Where to Easily Find Seed Planting Information You Want

Here at the Great Big Greenhouse, we carry seeds from three different seed companies, and their packets tell you many things. They tell you how deep to sow the seeds, how far apart to space the rows, how long the plant needs to grow before you harvest it, and how tall the plant will get. Some companies even tell you whether or not to start the seeds inside or out.

When to Plant? Well, It Depends…

They’ll also tell you how far in advance before or after the last frost date to plant. Here in the Richmond area, our last expected frost date is mid-April. However, just four years ago, we had frost after the first week in May! I usually plant my veggies closer to the end of April because I don’t want to be running around my yard at 11 at night wearing pajamas covering tender plants. Starting a week or two before planting outside, I watch the weather carefully to understand weather patterns.

Some seeds are best started indoors—long-season veggies like tomatoes, peppers, etc. I start them in seed trays and transplant the seedlings to one of those little “peat pots” (the whole pot is made of compressed peat and can go straight into the ground when you plant). If the weather seems dicey, I put the tray in the toolshed overnight. Fast-growing crops like cucumbers, squash, beans, etc., sow straight in the ground when the soil is right.

Why Soil Temperature Matters

Remember, it’s not just air temperature we must be concerned with; it’s also soil temperature. Most of our summer veggies have soil temperatures of 55 to 60 degrees. Temperatures cooler than that can delay the seeds from sprouting. Certain cool-season vegetables, like lettuce, spinach, peas, cabbage, etc., can be planted when soil temperatures are about 40 degrees. A soil thermometer is recommended for accurate soil temperature readings. You can pick one up for about $10.

Your Seeds—And The Great Info on the Back of The Seed Packets—Are Waiting

We have a great selection of seeds here at the Great Big Greenhouse. Come check them out!

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