Winter can quickly lose its charm after Christmas, especially in frigid areas like U.S. hardiness zone 4 or lower. The endless gray days of January and February can make it seem like winter will last forever. Filled with the hopeless, barrenness of winter, you may wander into a home improvement or big box store and find delight in their early displays of garden seeds. So, when exactly is too early for starting seeds in zone 4? Naturally, this depends on what you are planting. Continue reading to learn when to start seeds in zone 4.
Zone 4 Seed Starting Indoors
In zone 4, we can experience frost sometimes as late as May 31st and as early as October 1st. This short growing season can mean that some plants will need to be started from seed indoors several weeks before the last expected frost date in order to reach their full potential before autumn. When to start these seeds indoors depends on the plant. Below are different plants and their typical planting times indoors.
10 to 12 Weeks Before Last Frost
6 to 9 Weeks Before Last Frost
- Lemon Balm
- Bachelor’s Button
- Sweet Pea
3 to 5 Weeks Before Last Frost
When to Start Seeds in Zone 4 Outdoors
Outdoor seed planting time in zone 4 is usually between April 15th and May 15th, depending on the specific plant. Since spring in zone 4 can be unpredictable, pay attention to frost advisories in your area and cover plants as needed. Keeping a seed journal or seed calendar can help you learn from your mistakes or successes year after year. Below are some plant seeds that can be sown directly in the garden from mid-April to mid-May in zone 4.
- Bush Beans
- Pole Beans
- Chinese Cabbage
- Sweet Corn