Learning when to plant vegetables is key to a successful garden. Some vegetables will thrive in spring and fall, while others will produce better during midsummer. If you spend the time to understand when to plant your vegetable garden, you can ensure that you will have vegetables maturing throughout the summer.
There are four main vegetable garden planting periods:
- Early spring - as soon as the ground can be worked (soil temp. of ~5°C or 40°F)
- Midspring - approximately 2 weeks before the last expected frost date
- Early summer - when the trending weather provides warm sun and soil
- Midsummer to Fall - late June until two and half months before the first killing frost of Fall
Seed or Seedling (Transplant)
Planting a vegetable garden outdoors can begin with either a seed or a seedling (transplant). Transplants are grown inside in early spring and can help you gain weeks in growth over seeds that have to wait for the right outdoor planting temperature. This page will give you the general guidelines for planting vegetables; seeds or transplant.
Guidelines: When to Plant Vegetables
Knowing when to plant vegetables can be difficult. The usual advice for early spring planting says that you should wait until the 'ground can be worked', which is a fairly abstract term. A better guideline involves temperature. The earliest vegetables (kale, lettuce, parsnips, peas, radish, spinach) require a minimum soil temperature of 5°C or 40°F.
The following table is intended to be a guideline. We recommend that you also refer to your gardening neighbors, your local nursery, and seed manufacturer for the specific planting time for your area.
Planting a Vegetable Garden Indoors
Before the beginning of the planting season, decide which vegetables you will be planting from seeds outdoors, and which you will plant as transplants. This decision will determine your vegetable planting timeline. When you buy your seeds, ask for the recommended timeline for planting the specific variety of vegetable seeds you are buying.