Starting Seeds Indoors

Asked March 7, 2016, 4:28 PM EST


I'd really like to start seeds indoors this year, both vegetable and flowers. Could you advise me of the best time to start? If it makes a difference, I will be using grow lights, so I'm sure this will expedite things. In that matter, should I be leaving the lights on 24 hours a day? Thank you. Also, what is the earliest you'd recommend putting pea seeds in the ground? I've gotten conflicting advise, with almost a month's difference!

Alpena County Michigan fruits and vegetables starting seeds indoors vegetable gardening

1 Response

Ideally, determining the time to seed plants inside is dependent on the species to be planted, soil temperature, last frost date, as well as other factors. Proper timing will provide for good healthy transplants. For Alpena, the median last frost date is around May 26 with 10% of frosts occurring after June 7. The growing season length is about at 124 days. See Link:

Alpena Growing Season Summary

Crops (e.g. Broccoli, Cabbage) that like the cool temperatures and are frost tolerant can be transplanted before the last frost. Others that need warm soil (e.g. Tomatoes) may need to be transplanted a week or two after the last frost. Many seed catalogs/websites have good information on timing but make sure it applies to your conditions . See the links below for a chart that helps you determine the timing:

Vegetable Seed and Transplant Schedule

Unless you have a greenhouse, grow lights will be necessary for your seedlings with 16 hrs of on time per day being adequate.

As for peas, there is a wide range of time to plant peas. Sources indicate anywhere from four to six weeks before the last frost (or as soon as the ground is workable) but to get good germination the soil temperature needs to be at least above 40 °F if not higher.

Here are a few other links that could be helpful:

Seed Starting Indoors

Starting Seeds Indoors

Please let us know if you need additional information.