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RunSlideStop 02-08-2013 11:49 AM

Gardening - Question on starting seeds
We're starting our first garden this year, and living in a region we have never lived in before, we are having some trouble finding start dates.

We live in Zone 7, but we live on a mountain in this zone at about 3,000ft elevation, so I have been finding conflicting Last Frost Dates.

We would like to grow basil indoors strictly, and from what I understand, I would need to start the seeds for eventual outdoor transfer around the middle of March based on our last frost date (April 15ish). If we want to grow strictly indoors, and we keep the house about 70F at all times and have both East and West facing windows, does it really matter when I start the seeds? I want to make sure I don't waste my seeds, but I also feel like waiting until mid-March or later is kind of silly.


Phly 02-08-2013 05:52 PM

I start my veggies indoors usually a month before I intend to plant which varies wildly here. I've ended up with cucumber vines all over the living room by starting to soon :/ You can grow herbs and onions and garlic indoors no problem. Most veggies need pollinated though, which can be done with a paint brush. Not Alota fun though.
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FlyGap 02-09-2013 04:59 PM

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RSS I live in Zone 7 also and at 2,500 Ft, north facing. I always always go by the after Easter rule. I've been burned wayy too many times, LOL!

My Co-op got broccoli and cauliflower in for the valley. He laughed when I asked "isn't that a bit risky?", his reply... "I've nothin against sellin somethin twice, they asked, paid, I delivered."

RunSlideStop 02-09-2013 06:13 PM

LOL Flygap. We are new to the area and live around about 3,000ft. We want to try to start our seeds indoors probably under lights - things like Basil, Sweet Peas, Spinach and Lettuce, amongst other things. I think Basil under good lights and reasonable heat can be started whenever since we're going to keep it inside year-round. Thoughts? And thoughts on the others that will be transplanted hopefully in about 6/7 weeks?
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Lockwood 02-10-2013 12:06 AM

I can't help much for zone 7, I'm 5b/6a (depending on how severe the winter is... can't make up it's mind) and I started basil seeds last fall and carried them through the entire winter in the window.

I have a book that tells me to start things like broccoli and cauliflower 12 weeks out, but when I have done that the plants die before planting time or don't transplant well, so I have to shorten those to just 6 weeks, if at all.
I'm at the point to where I just direct sow before the last frost dates and throw sheet over the seedlings if a frost threatens. It's a whole lot easier.

Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, chard, sweet peas and lettuces are quite hearty and will withstand the cold very well.
Tomatoes and tender seeds I will start a head of time though.... about 6 weeks ahead. I would rather my plants be a little too young at the last fost and have to stay inside and extra week, than get long spindly plants that don't transplant well.

FlyGap 02-10-2013 01:31 AM

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Lockwood is the local Garden Guru!!

If you're keeping the basil indoors then just go for it. Easter is March 31st, kind of early this year. So I'll be starting my seeds indoors according to their germination rate, planning on sending them out small one week after Easter. I don't have the 2013 Almanac,
Looked it up and I'm shocked at the dates, maybe I need to get on the ball! Just type in your zip, and plant nearer to the end dates. How big of a garden? Like Lockwood said, just get some sheets or if you are really invested get those cool long arched/pop up domes.

I totally understand where you're coming from. My area is really weird. I've had 6 snows, 7 miles down the road they haven't had a flake.

Lockwood 02-10-2013 10:56 AM

No, not a guru by any means.... I've just killed far too many things in trying to get my thumb from black to green.
How many things?... I'll never tell! :lol:

It can be a steep learning curve and I've learned to take good notes on what I plant and what dates I start/plant them.
As the season goes on, I jot notes down on how things went and use the notes for the next season as when to plant and what varieties to plant.

I found this book to be very useful-
It does have a city/area list in the back to find your last frost date which you then use to chart everything out with. I use my own area's frost dates based on experience (not the book's) and then write up a long "to do" list based roughly on the lists and charts in the book. Keeps me focused and plugging along.

I also use info from square foot gardening methods, which is intensive planting in wide blocky rows. Which you can co-plant hings together and often through out the season for fall harvest too.

And apparently, I can't type or spell very well after 10:00pm my time as clearly outlined in my first post. :oops:

Clayton Taffy 02-10-2013 11:09 AM

In zone 7 you should be able to plant peas, spinach, lettuce, onions, carrots, greens and beets outside right now. I am in zone 5 and as soon as it stops raining I will be planting all that I mentioned. They all can take a light frost, I will cover if a hard frost is predicted. My last frost date for zone 5 is April 15, I can't believe yours in 7 is the same.

RunSlideStop 02-10-2013 06:45 PM

All of that being said, will living on a literal mountain at 3,000ish ft make much difference for frost date?
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Clayton Taffy 02-10-2013 07:11 PM


Originally Posted by RunSlideStop (Post 1888092)
All of that being said, will living on a literal mountain at 3,000ish ft make much difference for frost date?
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Why, yes it will! That makes more sense.

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