March 20th. That seems hard to believe doesn’t it? But here it comes and it’s time to get ready! Although it’s too soon to start most seeds, there are a few exceptions. One of my early starts is caladiums. They take so long to get going because they like warm soil, so that’s what I give them.
Deciding when to plant is based on the last frost date. You can find our frost date here: https://www.isws.illinois.edu/statecli/Frost/frost.htm
To summarize, the Illinois State Climatologist Office shows that 50% of the time our last frost is between April 21 and April 30. If you want to be a little more conservative, 90% of the time our last frost occurs between May 11 and 20. That is considered our average last frost date. There is practically never a frost after May 31. So choose how much you want to gamble!
With that in mind here is a seed starting calculator for you. https://awaytogarden.com/when-to-start-seeds-calculator/
Just put in the last frost date you think we’ll have and you can find out when to start your seeds. But there are some that need to be started very early. Using a May 20th frost date, onion seeds, parsley, leeks and pansies all should be started right now (or anytime since mid-February).
Next month we’ll discuss seed starting, soil temperatures and other things to consider for planting in greater detail. We’ll also highlight some new plants you might want try.
Spring is coming! Put your planning hat on and be ready to enjoy another gardening season.