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When to start seeds for spring in zone 5b

If you’re getting excited for spring’s nearing growing season, the last months of winter can be grueling. Long gone is the novelty of snow, and now that the holidays are over, it’s easy to begin dreaming of what will be in a matter a few months. Luckily, for those with mental wanderlust for warmer days, some plants do well when their seeds are started indoors during winter, giving them time to get established when the temperatures finally break to spring weather.

The first step is to determine what seeds you’re going to want to be planting during the growing season that you’re preparing for. If all of the seeds you want to plant are quick to germinate, prefer warm temperatures and full sun, then starting seeds indoors during the winter may not work out well. Starting seeds that love full sun and heat will not grow to a level of viability worth planting in the warmer months. Save these short germinating seeds for closer to spring.

Starting herbs indoors during the winter is a great way to tide yourself over til the spring as many herbs need 8-10 weeks to reach a level of maturity where they can be transplanted outside. Most common herbs have the added bonus of also being easy to keep growing inside year-round. Basil, oregano, thyme, chives, and parsley are extremely easy to get growing during January in zone 5b. If you grow these herbs in pots, you can also put them outside during warm spring days, bringing them back in during the colder spring nights, hardening them to outdoor conditions.

For your early spring garden leafy greens, you can get lettuce, spinach, swiss chard and kale started mid-January for March outdoor planting. Leafy greens tend to do really well in cooler temperatures, so by getting your greens started early, indoors, you’re setting yourself up for as much of a growing season for your leafy greens as possible. Kale even tastes better after going through a frosty night, with bitterness turning sweet. If you plan on planting a lot of leafy greens, sow more seeds a couple of weeks after your first set of seeds, so you’ll have a constant supply of seedlings.

If you’re itching to start growing your flowers for the year, from seed, unfortunately it may be best to hold off for a bit. Starting your flower seeds too early will result in a disappointing yield, and starting with herbs and leafy greens should be enough to placate your green thumb during the winter months. Luckily, it’s only a matter of time when the snow is melted for good, the days get longer, and the sunshine is back. At Whispering Hills, we carry everything your landscape needs, from annuals to perennials and trees, anything that you can’t get started from seed, we should be able to help out.

Whispering Hills Garden and Landscape Center is a full service landscape center and nursery located in Cary, Illinois. Stop in today to schedule a Spring 2022 cleanup. (Updated: 1/28/22)

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