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Is it Too Late to Start Seeds?  

No, it’s not too late to plant seeds! You can start seeds year-round. It depends on what you would like to accomplish after planting your seeds. There is short-season gardening, hydroponic growing, indoor gardening, jump-start growing to have huge plants to transplant in spring, etc.

The best time to plant seeds! 

Short-Season Gardening
Besides peppers and tomatoes, you can start lots of vegetable seeds year-round, depending on your climate, and if you have any winter protection such as cold frames or hoop houses. You can also grow cool season veggies in the early spring and plant in the late summer for a fall harvest. You can plant seeds for radishes, lettuce, peas, spinach, green onions throughout the year!

Yep, you can start many seeds throughout the spring/summer/fall season! So it's really never too late to start seeds. It is good to succession sow seeds for radishes, Little Gem lettuce, bunching onions, spinach, cabbages, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, cilantro, and even the fast growing zucchini. Sowing often ensures a continual long harvest of crops. Sometimes plants like cucumbers peter out, zucchini's too, or cilantro and lettuce can go to seed – so you can start new ones in mid-season to get a later fall harvest. We like to plant radish seeds every 1-2 weeks to have a continual radish harvest all summer into late fall.

Starting Seeds & Indoor Growing
You can also grow some veggies indoors year-round. For example, we find that basil grows great in a sunny south facing window. You can also grow Basil well under LED or fluorescent lights, as well as lettuce, spinach, and even peppers (if you have bright enough lights and room!)

Starting Peppers or Tomatoes Late?

If growing outdoors, you can also start peppers and tomatoes later in the season, especially if you grow short season varieties:

Short Season Peppers

Choose Short Season Peppers:

If it’s mid-summer, but you still have 75+ days of growing weather, and you want to experience growing peppers or tomatoes from seed to table, then choose short season pepper varieties that grow the fastest, like Jalapeno M, Jimmy Nardello, Hatch Green X-Hot and Bulgarian Carrot.

Short Season tomatoes

For short season tomatoes choose smaller fruited varieties like Black Prince, New Yorker, Chocolate Cherry and Isis Candy.

Learn more about:
How to Grow Chilli Plants Faster »

Start your seeds in ideal conditions. You want fast germination so plants can be transplanted outside in 2-3 weeks. Soaking seeds in water might speed germination.

Try a 6 hour soak, until seeds sink to the bottom of the cup. A solution of hydrogen peroxide or weak chamomile tea may help to break down the seed coat. Use one to two teaspoons of standard 3% hydrogen peroxide per cup of warm water.

As soon as your seeds sprout, put your starting tray under lights. You don't need fancy grow lights for seedlings, but they should be as close to the developing seedlings as possible. If your lights give off heat, be careful not to cook the seedlings or let them dry out.

Fertilize after the seeds have sprouted:
Use a diluted organic liquid fertilizer. Fertilize weekly.

Harden off and transplant:

First, you need to harden off your seedlings off by placing them outside a few days in dappled sunlight, and gradually moving them into full sun. Keep them in their cozy container. Be careful soil doesn’t dry out. Transplant your seedlings after they have 2 pairs of true leaves.

Forcing production in the garden:
More of everything is better. More water, more fertilizer, more sunshine. I think the best thing you can do, to ensure success, is to transplant your seedlings into some great organic soil. Your garden may be peaking with nutrients from composting and soil preparation, and that’s great. If not, fill each 1 foot x 1 foot hole you dig with moisture controlling, fertilizer releasing, bagged potting soil. Blend it into the garden soil on the bottom and sides so the roots won’t be shy about extending into your existing soil. Continue to fertilize every week, and make sure the fertilizer has low nitrogen.

When you transplant it might be a little later into spring, and the sun could be blasting your garden in the afternoons. Shade transplants from afternoon sun for a week. This doesn’t need to be fancy. Plastic stacking lawn chairs work well for plant shade.

Mulch around plants to maintain a more constant soil temperature. Water precisely so plants never stress about water availability (soggy is bad). Stake or cage your plants as needed to reduce wind stress. Hand pollinate flowers with your finger in the mornings. You may want to thin some fruit, so more plant resources go to less fruits. You will have a few less, but bigger tastier peppers and tomatoes instead of more small ones.

It’s never too late to plant seeds! Shop at for many more seed choices to get your garden growing! 

~ Patsy Coles