The first thing you need to know when deciding when to start seeds indoors is the last spring frost date for your area. The calendar below wouldn’t be half as effective for starting, tracking and maintaining MyNJGarden if I didn’t start out with a plan – so for all the NJ gardeners out there, here is our starting point.
Alternatively, you could use nature’s signs to decide when to plant, harvest and watch out for certain pests in the garden. This is called the study of Phenology and I’m making a log of nature’s signs I find that tell me what I should be doing and when I should be doing it in the garden.
Find the last spring frost date for your area in NJ
Farmer’s Almanac gave me this result when I searched for my area:
Average First & Last Frost Dates for New Jersey, NJ
Source: http://www.victoryseeds.com/frost/nj.html; “Climatography of the U.S. No. 20, Supplement No. 1”, 1988, National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.
Toms River’s planting season should be from April 25th to September 24th. Now that we know when Jack Frost will officially leave, here is some seed starting advice from NJ Gardening message boards I’ll be referring too as well.
- Mother’s Day is generally considered the earliest date to put seeds in the ground in central NJ.
- February – start seeds indoors for onions & leeks to be set out in March.
- March – start seeds indoors for broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers. Plant outdoors: sets/plants for onions, leeks, shallots; cloves/seed pieces for garlic, potatoes, sunchokes; direct seed peas, spinach.
- Plant peas and lettuce in the garden March 19th and replace them in early June with corn.
Thevegetablegarden.info used to say (their site isn’t online anymore) I’m in planting zone 6B, not zone 7 like most of the other maps I look at. I think their vegetable planting calendar for zone 5-6 is a safe bet for dates to direct sow into the garden outdoors. I know we sometimes have a frost the first week of May so it’s better to be safe than to be running outside on cold nights with row covers.