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Art Knapp
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How Early Can I Start My Seedlings in Surrey, BC?

in Informational

How Early Can I Start My Seedlings in Surrey, BC?

There is no hard-and-fast rule about when to start seedlings. You can start them a year ahead—in theory—if you want to. The issue with seedlings is that you need to give them adequate light once they are sprouted and before they are able to go outside. So, the earlier you start them, the more important it is that you have some good artificial light to help them grow big and strong before it is warm enough outside to harden them off.

It also depends on what seeds you are starting. Cole crops, that are members of the Cruciferae family, can be planted outside much earlier than vegetables like tomatoes. Cole crops could be moved outside as early as March. Some other hardy vegetables like peas and radishes can also be planted early—like in March. Whereas tomatoes, for example, can’t go outside until the nighttime temperatures stay above about 12 degree Celsius.

For planting outside early, you could start inside now any seedlings that fit in that early category. Figure starting seedlings 2-4 weeks before planting them outside.

For the vegetables that require more warmth to be outside, you may want to wait unless you can offer them plenty of good indoor light before moving outside. If you don’t give the seedlings adequate light, then they will be weak and leggy plants that will have a tough start.

So, the answer to the question in the title is “it depends.” When to start seedlings inside on the Lower Mainland depends on what you are starting, when those seedlings can be moved outside, and how much indoor light you can offer them while they are waiting to be moved. The good news is that seedlings can be started inside and moved outside much earlier in Surrey, BC, than in the BC Interior or northern parts of the province.

We have the benefit of a mild oceanic climate and a longer growing season than many other parts of the province. Come by our flagship store in Surrey, and take a look at our seed selection so you can plant a terrific vegetable garden this year.

Art Knapp has 15 locations across British Columbia and is well known as the go-to garden centre for everything garden-related. Art Knapp, himself, began the business in the 1940's, and now, 80 years later, you can find more than he ever dreamed of in our stores. Come and see us on King George Boulevard in Surrey.


If you have any questions about this article or want to talk to us about gardening, just give us a call at (604) 596-9201.

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