Calculator For Seed Starting Indoors & Outdoors

I always let out a whoop of delight when I see the first seedlings poking their heads up.

Spring has sprung! You may be going crazy wondering where to start if you are planning a vegetable garden by growing from seed. Help is at hand.

Some vegetable seeds you baby a little by starting indoors, like warmth-loving tomatoes. If ever a plant said, “Please buy me a greenhouse,” tomatoes are it. Other, cold-hardy vegetables fare better when you start them right in the ground. And if you are growing certain veggies, like spinach and peas, you can sow them right now, in early April. Or even earlier, in March.

Check out this Old Farmer’s Almanac handy online calculator for sowing dates, customisable to whatever location you’re in. For seed starting in Toronto, you couldn’t ask for a better help. Their calculator bases their statistics on US locations, but many Canadian locales correspond quite well. Instead of zip code, just fill in your province abbreviation: Ontario=ON. Check the Farmer’s Almanac Seed Planting Date Chart out here. It’s definitely a page I am bookmarking for long-term quick reference.


    1. Hi, AmyBby, Clicking the link at the bottom of the post will take you to the Farmers Almanac page, but things have changed a little there since we posted this in 2011. However, you can enter your area (Toronto, ON, defaults in the link we included) and that will give you a handy chart for seed-starting reference – scroll down if you don't see it right away. Not a "calculator" per-se, but still a useful veg planting tool.

  1. Is there another tool you can recommend instead? That tool seems awfully optimistic for the Toronto, ON area : starting tomato seeds indoors on the 1st of March and planting them outdoors on the 1st of May, and harvesting kale and broccoli through the snow drifts in February? It seems like it's for another zone further south of us.

    1. Hi, Randal, Yes it does seem optimistic. But even OMAFRA (Ont. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs) is just as hopeful. See: I find it's always best to wait longer for warm-season crops like tomatoes. I'd even wait till June 1 before planting them out. And, theoretically, the hard-core veggie gardener could extend the season into winter, for cold-tolerant veg like kale, by using covers. Niki Jabbour's book The Year Round Vegetable Gardener is a useful how-to on that. But, for lazy folk like me, you're quite correct.

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