Start tomato seeds indoors about 6 weeks before temperatures hit 55 degrees at night, says Renee Shepherd from Renees Garden, a seed company in Santa Cruz, CA. Tomatoes are “used to an extremely long growing season,” she explains, so they’ll do best when started indoors.
“Basil is one of the most cold intolerant plants,” says Shepard, which means you can wait until nights are reliably warm to directly-sow it, or better yet, start it inside. Basil is also very popular, so to nab the most exciting varieties, now is the time to shop for seeds.
Many herbs do very well when started indoors rather than directly sowed. Chives, dill, marjoram, oregano, parsley, sage, and thyme are all ideal seeds to start inside, Shepard explains. Start them inside about a month before the nights are evenly in the 50s.
Spicy or sweet, you’ll find so much more variety in a seed packet than you ever will in a store or even a farmers market, so growing peppers from seed — and starting them indoors 6 weeks before temps hit 55 at night — is the way to go.
Brassicas — like cauliflower, kale and broccoli — benefit from being started indoors sometime in late February or early March, depending on where you live. Like all the others, Shepard reminds that “you shouldn't plant them outside until nights are evenly in the 50s.”