When to Start Seeds Indoors - Zone 5B - Chicago Suburbs

Social Distancing means that we can't go to the store for anything other than groceries, but it doesn't mean that I can't putter around in the garden.  For me, that means that this year, I'm going to try something new:  growing some annual flowers from seeds.  Normally, we buy a set of annuals - like Zinnias - for our front beds and plant them out front of the boxwoods.  This year - I came across a seed set online and grabbed it.  But, when to plant?  It seems that Menards always puts out their seeds right after Christmas.  But, that's too early for us.

This piece from Gardener's Supply Company talks about when to start your seeds: they recommend different times for different varieties.  This piece from the Bump talks about sowing seeds indoors 4-5 weeks before the last frost in your zone.  For gardeners like me in the Western Suburbs of Chicago...when is that?

According to MorningChores.com, our last frost is April 7th to 30th.  Let's use that date of April 30th.  4 weeks before that?  Right about now.

So, this past weekend, the kids and I got busy.  I set up each of them with 32 of these McKenzie cells.  And Zinnia seeds - they are "Cut and Come Again" variety.



I bought three packs of these seeds, but turns out....I really only needed one.  There were plenty of seeds inside the one pack to go across all three kids cells.




I tried growing from seed back in Elmhurst and even bought a little plastic greenhouse that I set up in the house.  That was a total failure and everything molded over.  I've learned a bit from then.  I think I kept them too button'd up.  I found these instructions on the back of the little greenhouse kit:


It talks about propping the dome open once the first seedlings emerge.  Going to try to watch that closely as to not lose any seedlings to mold and moisture.

I'm thinking that I want that poster that I posted about back in 2011:  Dig on for Victory.  Would look good in our garage above my garden bench, wouldn't it?

Dig on for Victory poster via Amazon listing.  Not my image. 

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