Time to start early vegetables indoors

Updated: Apr 8, 2019

Normal planting time for the early spring vegetables here in east central Iowa is sometime in March. Just a week a go it was still getting close to below zero each nigh and we had snow and a thick layer of ice everywhere. It seemed like Spring was never coming. Now we had a rapid thaw and a few big rains to melt the glaciers and there is a rush to play catchup. Mid April is the typical time to plant the earliest seedlings of the cabbage family and onions outside here. In the early 1990's it was early April but our Springs are coming later these days and are Fall lasts longer. I will be starting the onions,leeks, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts this week. I am a stickler for liking smaller plants at transplant time especially of the cabbage family. I already have the celery and celeriac started as they take so long to germinate. I always like to use a 8 week indoor start ahead time for the celery family but a 4 week head start for the cabbage and usually about 6 weeks for the onions and leeks. For those who miss that window it some times works just as well to direct seed in the garden and reduce the transplant shock. In those cases plant as early as you can get into the garden.


It was interesting to see the late August planted lettuce trial last Fall come through the winter with the snow cover and the -36 we had. I will explore more this week but it looks like we will have some fresh lettuce in a few weeks from the over wintered plants. I will give a further report later on on the varieties that did the best. I did see my little rabbit friends found a hole in the fence and had already feasted some on the plants the day the snow melted.


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Sand Hill Preservation Center

Heirloom Seeds & Poultry

1878 230th Street

Calamus, IA 52729

563-246-2299

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