Kale seedlings, just starting to show their frilly “true leaves.”

After a wild winter filled with abundant snow and unusually cold temperatures, I’m itching to get out in the garden. But the garden won’t be ready for me for weeks; it’s still covered in snow and the ground underneath is frozen. So I’m satisfying my need to grow by starting seeds indoors.

In many parts of the country, there’s still time to start seeds indoors. What you can start depends on where you live and your average last spring frost date.

Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest
If you live in these regions, where last frost dates range from mid April to early May, choose seeds that germinate and grow quickly.

  • Greens like kale and lettuce will be ready to plant in the garden in about a month and thrive in cool spring weather.
  • Cucumbers, melons and squash can be started indoors now, but wait until a week or so after your last frost date to set these heat-lovers in the garden.
  • Annual flowers like zinnias and cosmos are good seeds to start indoors now and will be ready to transplant on the last frost date.

Far Northern and Western Mountain Regions
If you live in these areas, where last frost dates range from the middle of May to early June, you can start your tomatoes from seed now. Wait to start the seeds mentioned above until mid April so plants don’t get too large before it’s time to transplant them to the garden.

If winter is lingering just a little too long in your backyard, get out in the garden by starting some seeds indoors!