Chattanooga Seed Starting & Planting Guide – January & February 2024

Chattanooga Seed Starting & Planting Guide – January & February 2024

Here in Chattanooga Tennessee we are fortunate to have a long growing season.  Even in the cold of the winter months we can still be a part of our garden. Starting seeds is not a daunting task, but a task that needs to be well planned. Of course buying plant starts is a perfectly reasonable option for garden plants, but to have the option to have the specific plants you desire is best when starting your own seeds. If you have never started your own seeds and aren’t sure where to start, stop by the store and we can give you a crash course! We keep all seed starting supplies in stock all year long. No need to wait for seasonal big box store to get their supplies in.

When starting your seeds to be ready for the spring time it is important to mind a few details. Planning your garden is the best part of the whole process, in our opinion at least. To make sure that your plants are ready to move into the outdoors and to get the earliest yield possible you will need to mind a few dates. First, find your USDA Planting Hardiness Zone,  they have recently changed these assigned zones, putting Chattanooga in Zone 8a. The USDA Hardiness zone is essentially the lowest average temperatures that a zone will experience. These zones helps us decide what plants can be grown in our area. Second, we need to know our last and first frost date. These dates are based off years of data and can differ from town to town. The last frost date is important to know as it is a marker as a safe date to transplant non-frost hardy plants. Garden planners also use this date to count the days needed prior to starting seeds as to plan early yields and take full advantage of the growing season. The first frost date is an unofficial end to the summer produce season. This day is important to late season planting and fall crops that can handle frost but not freezes. Chattanooga’s slated last frost date for 2024 is the first week of April. Some people will add a few days or even weeks before planting plants outside to be safe that no late frosts will get the young tender plants. Our first frost date for 2024 is slated for the first week of November. We typically see this date to be more reliable, as Chattanooga doesn’t normally experience winter temperatures until late November anyway.

If you are not gardening in Chattanooga and want to find your own calendar we recommend the one Johnny Seeds has that uses the last frost or the Old Farmer’s Almanac that uses your zip code to create the plan.

How to read the calendar:

In the early months of the year we mainly focus on starting seeds indoors. Later in the spring we can start watching for the setting out dates and the direct sowing dates. The setting out dates are when it is safe to place young plants outdoors. Some seeds prefer to be direct sown, as transplanting does not suit these plants well. We point out these plants with a *.

Find out more during our Garden Series class that we teach in the spring. We will include the link here soon!


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