Zone 5 Seed Starting: When To Start Seeds In Zone 5 Gardens

Wooden Spoons Full Of Different Types Of Seeds
zone 5 seeds
(Image credit: marilyna)

The imminent arrival of spring heralds the planting season. Starting your tender vegetables at the correct time will ensure healthy plants that can produce bumper crops. You need to know the best time for planting seeds in zone 5 to avoid killing freezes and get the best yields. The key is knowing the date of your last frost and using tricks like raised beds and cold frames to get a jump start on that garden. Read on to find out when to start seeds in zone 5.

Seed Planting Times for Zone 5

Zone 5 has a shorter growing season than warmer climes. That doesn't mean you can't get loads of produce, but it does mean you need to check your seed packets and pay attention to the "days to maturity" portion of the instructions. This will tell you how long your seeds will take from planting to harvest. Some vegetables are cool season crops and can be started even when outdoor temperatures are still cool while others such as melons, tomatoes, and eggplant require warm soil to germinate and bright, sunny, warm conditions. Timing your planting correctly is crucial to successful harvests, but when to start seeds in zone 5? The first official frost-free date is May 30th while the first chance of a freeze is October 30th. That means you need to choose plants that will mature before late October and get them started as soon as possible to extend your growing season. Some gardeners in cooler regions opt to use transplants that they set out in late May, while others grow in greenhouses to get a jump start. If that option is not available to you, or you prefer to start seeds in the ground, May 30th is your date for zone 5 seed starting. May 30th is a ballpark date. If your area is exposed, high in the mountains, or tends to get frost pockets late into the season, you will need to adjust your planting time. Seed packets contain a lot of helpful information, including regional planting times. Usually, this is displayed on a map that is color coded to correspond to specific dates. These are the seed company's suggested planting times, and they will vary dependent upon the type of vegetable or fruit. These suggestions will give you a better idea of seed planting times for zone 5. Properly preparing the soil with plenty of organic material, assuring percolation, and removing impediments to tiny seedlings is equally important.

Tips on Zone 5 Vegetable Planting

Cool season vegetables like brassicas, beets, spring onions, and others can usually be planted as soon as soil is workable. That means they may experience a late season freeze. To protect seedlings, erect a hoop house to keep ice crystals off the plants. This will slightly raise the temperature inside and prevent severe damage to young vegetables. Due to the late start date for planting seeds in zone 5, some produce that needs a longer growing season should be started indoors and transplanted out at the end of May. These are tender plants and cannot get the growing time they need by starting them earlier outdoors because they will fail to germinate. Starting seeds in flats indoors can give you decent sized plants that are ready for the appropriate outdoor planting time. For additional information on when and what vegetables to plant in zone 5 regions, check with your local extension office for assistance.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.