Here in Utah we’ve recently experienced a small bout of warm weather inspiring many to get outside, breathe some fresh air and look for signs of spring. Unfortunately it’s still only February and if you believe the theory of the groundhog, we have a few more weeks of winter before we can seriously consider getting back out in our gardens.

That said, weeks of winter does not equal depriving yourself of the things that matter most to gardeners: dirt under your nails, green shoots/stems/leaves and watching something grow.

It is time to seriously consider starting some seeds indoors!

Step 1- Planning is essential.

The first step to starting seeds indoors, as with most things, is to plan. Consider the crops you want to start, where/when you plan to plant them outdoors and draft out your very own seed starting calendar.

Planting outdoors chart

USU Extension chart for planting outdoors.

Step 2- Determine when plants can go outdoors.

Here along the Wasatch front our average last frost date is between May 1st and May 15th depending on where you live in the valley. To find out your average last frost date read our blog post “Days to Harvest Demystified”. Determining this date gives you the starting point for when hardy, semi-hardy, tender and very tender crops will go in the ground. There is a great factsheet titled “Suggested Vegetable Planting Dates for the Wasatch Front” that guides you on average planting dates for common crops.

Remember, not all seeds should be started indoors- pea, carrots and radish are best direct seeded in the garden in early spring.

Average planting date chart

Step 3 – Determine how long to grow transplants indoors.

Check out the useful chart below. Knowing approximately how many weeks old the transplants should be before going outdoors determines when you’ll growing them indoors. Watch the video at the bottom for more useful information on how to start seeds indoors!

transplant chart

Step 4- Gather supplies.

Read our blog posts titled “Be Legit-Get Equipped”  and “Equipment Needs for Starting Seeds” for some suggestions on indoor seed starting equipment.

Click here for another great USU Extension resource on growing transplants at home.