K-State Research and Extension news service 


Manhattan, KS– It’s barely January, it’s cold and many landscapes are covered with snow, but in Kansas and surrounding areas, gardeners are heeding a similar set of commands: Ready, Set…Go?


“Planning for and starting vegetable and flower transplants,” said Kansas State University horticulture expert Ward Upham, “can make this a much more interesting time of year.”


Steadfast gardeners know that the first of the year is an ideal time for purchasing quality seed. Specific to Kansas, Upham said K-State Research and Extension publishes a guide of recommended vegetable varieties to help gardeners get started.


“These plants have proven themselves across the state of Kansas and this is a good place to start when deciding what to plant,” Upham said. “However, also talk to your neighbors, friends and your local garden center about what has worked well for them.”


Upham said most garden centers and seed catalogs are reputable sources for quality seeds. If choosing seeds from a business that does not specialize in plants, “pay special attention to the package date to make sure the seed was packaged for the current year,” he said.


“Though most seed remains viable for about three years, germination decreases as seed ages. (Buying current seed) allows you to keep seed for a longer period of time with an expectation of good germination.”


Additional tips include:



Upham and his colleagues in K-State’s Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources produce a weekly Horticulture Newsletter with tips for maintaining home landscapes. The newsletter is available to view online or can be delivered by email each week.


Interested persons can also send their garden- and yard-related questions to Upham at wupham@ksu.edu, or contact your local extension office.