When to plant vegetables

When is Best Time Plant Vegetable Garden?

Download our Free Zone Chart and Vegetable Planting Guide to Help Plan Your Garden!

Planning Your Garden

When is the best time plant vegetable garden? Download our free zone chart and vegetable garden planning guide to help plan your garden!

Using your handy garden tool supplies, you can plant a garden almost any time of the year.

Visit your local gardeners supply company to find garden grow lights and supplies for creating an indoor garden.

Planting a Garden

Planting a Container or Potted Vegetable Garden

A container vegetable garden can be planted indoors any time of the year to deliver fresh vegetables year-round!
Also, a potted vegetable garden can be planted indoors year round, or outdoors during the planting season.
A raised bed vegetable garden, using vertical vegetable gardening to save space with a garden plan can be started outdoors in the spring when there will be no more freezing weather.

Design Your Own Vegetable Garden Layout Using our Free “Vegetable Garden Planner” Software!

Planting a Raised Bed and Container Vegetable Garden

Planning a vegetable garden layout that works for you, is key to your success as a beginner!

Vegetable gardening is an ongoing learning process, from planting a beginner vegetable garden to the most advanced design or layout.

With each successful season’s harvest, a new adventure begins, bringing its own beauty and challenges to overcome.

So let’s get started!

Download zone chart here!

Best Time Plant Vegetable Garden

Note: If you live where you can have freezing winter and spring weather, you may need to adjust the best time to plant the vegetable garden schedule below forward a month or two.

Your local garden center can give you general planting times for your climate, or use the planner we have provided below.

Plant Lettuce While Weather is Still Cool

June- July- August

June: Best time plant vegetable garden including sweet potatoes cherry tomatoes, okra, and peas. Herbs for summer include mint, marjoram, basil, chives, oregano, and dill.

July: Plant vegetables that are heat resistant including pumpkins, okra, peas, beans, sweet potatoes, and cherry tomatoes. Herbs for mid summer are dill, mint, oregano, basil, chives, and marjoram. By mid month, sow tomato, eggplant, and pepper seeds for late August transplants.

August: Sow watermelon seeds by the 10th day of the month. Wait until mid-month for planting cucumbers, celery, collards, broccoli, eggplant, onions, corn, peppers, squash, tomatoes, and beans.

Click Here for a Vegetable Planting GuideClick Here for a Vegetable Planting Guide

September- October- November

September: By mid-month, complete plantings of beans, peppers, squash, eggplant, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Start seeds for cool season transplants, Brussels sprouts, celery, lettuce, cauliflower, and onion. The best time plant vegetable garden including the herbs borage, lavender, rosemary, sage, marjoram, thyme, anise, fennel, coriander, and mint in the vegetable garden. Prepare strawberry beds for future planting.

November: Sow mustards, onions, lettuce, beets, cauliflower, rutabagas, collards, turnips, Swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, peas, radishes, and spinach. November is the best time plant vegetable garden containing winter herbs including rosemary, dill, fennel, sage, coriander, chives, garlic, anise, lavender, marjoram, and thyme in the vegetable garden.

December-January- February

December: Keep the vegetable patch going with cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage, mustard, onions, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips, beets, collards, carrots, radishes, and broccoli. Best time plant vegetable garden containing herbs for winter fennel, garlic, chives, comfrey, coriander, parsley, anise, dill, mint, thyme, and sage in your vegetable garden.

January: Plant mustards, cauliflower, lettuce, peas, potatoes, turnips, radishes, broccoli, beets, cabbage, carrots, celery, and collards. Best time plant vegetable garden winter herbs including horehound, comfrey, mint, parsley, chives, catnip, coriander, fennel, cardamom, anise, thyme, rosemary, and sage. At mid-month, sow cucumber, pepper, and squash, eggplant, and tomato seeds indoors for transplant ready by March.

February: Best time plant vegetable garden, or make final planting of broccoli, beets, potatoes, radishes, collards, lettuce, peas, and turnips in the vegetable garden. By the end of the month, plant peppers, beans, squash, cucumbers, corn, cantaloupes, tomatoes, and watermelons. Start tomato, eggplant, and peppers seeds to have transplants in 6-8 weeks.

March-April- May

Square Foot Gardens are Easy to Plant and Maintain

March: Make early plantings of peppers, tomatoes, watermelons, and corn. Crops to plant through the month include cantaloupes, peas, squash, beans, okra, eggplant, and cucumbers. Sprout sweet potatoes for transplants later in spring. Best time to plant herbs coriander, comfrey, basil, chives, dill, anise, sage, thyme, fennel, marjoram, and mint in the vegetable garden.

April: Plant vegetables including peas, sweet potatoes, beans, cantaloupes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, squash, peppers, and okra. Herbs for spring planting are marjoram, thyme, sage, anise, rosemary, chives, basil, dill, borage, oregano, mint, and savory.

May: Continue planting beans, okra, collards, spinach, peas, sweet potatoes, and cherry tomatoes. Best time to plant herbs including savory, thyme, mint, basil, chives, sage, dill, and marjoram in the vegetable garden.

Free Vegetable Garden Plans

Check out our free vegetable garden plans if you would like some ideas for designing, planning, or layout for your vegetable garden!

Click Here for a Free Square-Foot Garden Plan

Vegetable gardening is a great hobby with many rewards.

So get started planning your garden now!

And if you have extra homegrown vegetables, share with your friends and neighbors.

They will be delighted, as there is no nicer gift to receive than fresh garden produce!

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Vegetable Gardening Planting Times

Planting Times for Garden Vegetables

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When to plant a garden – what times and climates are best for certain crops.

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When Should you Plant?

After you’ve decided on your gardening plan for the year, you’re good to start getting ready to plant your plants. Each area of the country has different planting dates, classified by zones or regions. When it comes to planting a vegetable garden, it’s best to know when your last average frost date is, so that you can plant your plants without worry of them being killed by frost (hopefully, anyway). You can either find out your last average frost date from your local extension office or by using this website.

Vegetables Planted First

As a general guideline, you plant your cold season plants first and the warm season plants closer to when the nights aren’t quite as cool. Cold season plants include your lettuces, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, cabbage, onions, etc. Warm season plants include peppers, tomatoes, beans, etc.

Each plant varies to how long it takes for the vegetables to mature and be ready to harvest, that is why some vegetables and regions are able to have 2 growing seasons and some are not. If you’re growing your plants from seed, you’ll know exactly how long until you’re able to harvest. It’s hard to know how old your plants are when you purchase them from a greenhouse or nursery, though.

Plant Days from Seed to Harvest
Broccoli 55-60
Bush Beans 57
Cabbage 63-74
Cauliflower 60-75
Corn 58-90
Cucumbers 50-68
Okra 52-56
Peas 54-72
Peppers 65-75
Pumpkins 100-110
Tomatoes 60-79
Watermelon 70-85

North America is divided up into regions that have similar weather, which helps to outline when you should plant particular plants. Region 1 and most of Region 2 have 2 growing seasons, with a small second growing season in Region 3. This grants you two seasons in which you can grow your cool season crops—so if you miss one you can plan to plant for the other one.

The chart above outlines the planting dates for some of the most common vegetables grown in home gardens. Instead of focusing on specific dates, I’ve stuck to general time frames. I found that nailing down to a specific date left me stressed if I missed that particular date. Thankfully I realized that nothing always goes perfectly, weather is always unpredictable, and a specific date really isn’t necessary—a general time frame works just fine!

You will notice that there are 2 different dates for some vegetables. The second one would be the month in which you would plant your fall crop.

You will notice that many of the cool season plants have the same basic planting time frame, as does the warm season plants. Use the same basic guideline when you’re trying to figure out when to plant vegetables that aren’t included in this chart.

More Gardening Posts for you:

  • Guide to Beginning Gardening
  • Protect your Garden from Pests
  • Gardening with Raised Beds
  • How to Create a Container Garden
  • Best Plants for Container Gardening

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When to plant vegetables: a guide to sowing and harvesting vegetables

Want to grow your own vegetables, but don’t know when to start sowing and harvesting your crops? Then here’s our handy guide to sowing and harvesting vegetables!

When to plant vegetables

It’s important to sow your vegetable crops at the right time of year – whether it’s directly outside in the ground or indoors with heat – and to harvest them at the right time, when they’re at the peak of their tenderness and taste.

The majority of vegetables will be sown in Spring (March to May) however some, such as broad beans, may require to be sown a little earlier depending on the weather/temperature conditions. Harvesting usually starts in mid-Summer, however some vegetables will require harvesting a little earlier – such as beans, carrots, radishes and potatoes – and some a little later – such as beetroot, brussel sprouts, cabbages, leeks and parsnips. The later harvesting vegetables may continue into the next year – January/February – depending on growing conditions.

Note that certain vegetables will require sowing inside, to start propagation taking hold before moving outside. Vegetables such as tomatoes, sweetcorn, cabbages and marrows will require this step.

Read our detailed planner below for a breakdown of which vegetables require sowing, moving and harvesting – and at which points of the year (click on a crop for detailed growing information).

⬤ = Sow inside (on a window sill, unheated greenhouse, coldframe)
⬤ = Sow outside (direct into prepared garden soil)
⬤ = Move outside (when conditions are favourable)
⬤ = Harvest (when ready)

Vegetable J F M A M J J A S O N D
Beans – broad
Beans – French


Beans – Runner


Beetroot
Sprouting broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage (Summer/Autumn)


Cabbage (Winter)
Carrots

Leek
Lettuce

Marrow, Corguette, Squash
Onions>, Garlic
Parsnips
Peas

Potatoes
Radish




Shallot
Spinach
Sweetcorn

Tomato (Outdoors)

This vegetable planner has been created as a guide and does not take into account regional, or seasonal weather variations. Ensure that the risk of frost and cold weather has passed before planting/sowing any frost-sensitive crops.

Which time is best to plant?

The best time to plant vegetable gardens is dependent upon where you live. The hardiness zone determines whether you can plant directly into the soil or if you’ll have to start your vegetable plants indoors.

Your Best Time to Plant Vegetable Gardens

If you don’t already know what your hardiness zone is, the best way to find out is to use a hardiness zone calculator (available here on the LoveToKnow Garden website). Once you know what your hardiness zone is, you can begin planning on when to put those seeds directly into the ground or when to start your seedlings indoors.

Cool Crops

Cool crops are those that can be planted earliest in the spring. These include vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions and Brussels sprouts. Some lettuce plants also fall into this category. These types of plants can tolerate a late frost better than other less vigorous plants with tender leaves.

As soon as the ground can be tilled, these crops can be planted. Depending upon the hardiness zone, this could be anywhere from early to late April.

Warm Crops

Warm crops are those that will not survive a late frost without protection. These plants include peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and some lettuce varieties. If you suspect a late frost, and these plants are already in the ground, cover them overnight and then promptly remove the covers once the sun is out in the morning.

Tender Crops

Tender crops may be planted early, but they require hot caps to help them grow and avoid frost damage. Crops that fall into this category include cucumbers, melons and squash.

Hot caps are essentially mini hot houses used to cover the plant while it is germinating and sprouting. These can be purchased commercially, or they may be made from common household items, like gallon jugs. (Simply cut off the bottom of the jug and push the container into the ground about an inch deep around where the seeds are planted. Once the plant is growing well above ground, remove the jugs).

Starting Plants Indoors

If you live in a cool climate and need to start your plants indoors, start them about a month before you will be able to plant them. These seedlings can be planted in many different types of containers, depending on what is available. Some gardeners prefer peat pots, while others insist on using fortified potting soil. The plants can be started in pots or simple paper cups. What is important to remember is to keep the plants warm and moist while they are germinating and growing.

Seedlings may benefit from heat mats placed beneath the pots, but caution must be used to ensure that the mats aren’t too hot. Having a grate placed between the heating mat and the pots may help prevent the soil from drying out too quickly before they are watered again.

As soon as the weather allows, the plants should be transplanted outdoors into prepared soil.

Seed Packet Information

When purchasing seeds from a retail store, the back of each seed packet provides valuable information for the gardener. The back of the seed packet identifies the best time to plant a vegetable garden in your area. If you live in an area that is between two zones, choose the cooler zone to make the determination on when to plant the seeds.

While no one can predict the weather for certain each year, hardiness zones will certainly help in determining the best time to plant vegetable gardens. Following local weather reports can also help gardeners avoid disaster by notifying them of frost alerts. Covering these plants overnight will save plants from frost damage. Finally, use seed packet information to help determine when is the right time to plant a particular vegetable. If you can’t plant the seeds early outdoors, start them indoors for a bountiful crop each year.

Crop Planting Info: When To Plant Your Vegetable Garden

People differ in the exact times they plant their vegetable gardens. Keep reading to learn the best time to plant vegetables.

When to Plant Your Vegetable Garden

It’s easy to go by the frost-free dates that are expected during spring or fall as well as the hardiness of the plants themselves. To determine the best time to plant vegetables in the spring, check the hardiness zones for your area. These zones can be found on individual seed packets or in most gardening books.

Crop Planting Info

Most crop planting info when to plant vegetables centers around the types of crops grown — early, hardy/half-hardy, mid-season and tender crops.

Planting early crops

Early crops mature faster; therefore, they can be easily replaced with other vegetables like lettuce, bush beans, or radishes to fill the empty spaces once these earlier crops have faded out. This technique, which is referred to as succession planting, also extends the growing and harvesting season.

Planting mid-season crops

Normally, early to mid-season crops are planted in early spring while fall crops are generally planted in summer. The first planting should be done as early as possible but only when there is no danger of any frost. Hardy plants normally tolerate temperatures below freezing and are usually the first to be put into the garden as soon as the soil can be worked, which is typically about four weeks prior to the last frost date. The half-hardy varieties tolerate light amounts of frost; thus, can be put into the garden slightly before the last frost is expected.

Planting hardy crops

Crops that are hardy typically include:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Turnips

Some of these vegetables, such as peas, cabbage, broccoli, radishes and cauliflower, also are considered as fall crops and can be planted in late summer. Potatoes, beets, carrots, lettuce, and artichokes are some of the half-hardy types, which typically are followed by the hardy varieties in the garden.

Planting tender crops

Tender crops do not tolerate cooler temperatures and are easily damaged by frost. As a result, these crops should not be put into the garden until well after any danger of frost. More often than not, you should wait at least two to three weeks after the last frost just to be safe. Many of these tender varieties require temperatures of at least 65 F. (18 C.) in order to thrive. The most susceptible plants to cold temperatures include:

  • Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Melons
  • Okra

The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to vegetable gardening is that what you grow and when you grow it really depends on the locality in which you live, as variables in both climate and temperature have a huge impact with regards to individual plant requirements.

So, you’ve decided to plant a vegetable garden.

Congratulations! You’ve made an excellent choice with far-reaching benefits.

Not only will you have a source of inexpensive, fresh vegetables, you’ll also be in complete command of how your crops are grown – so they can be as organic and natural as you like.

You can also plant surplus amounts to can and freeze, and make your own jams, jellies, pickles, and preserves – a great way to stretch your garden’s goodness (and food budget) into the winter months.

On top of all that, working with soil and plants is an excellent stress buster. It’s one of the easiest activities to practice mindfulness, and working with the earth is a natural antidote to anxiety and worry.

Kids love the garden too! Photo by Lorna Kring.

Research even shows that children who garden eat more fruits and veggies. They also score better on science achievement tests, and significantly increase important life skills like self-understanding and the ability to work in groups – all good reasons to get the kids involved!

Clearly, there are a lot of positive benefits to the vegetable patch.

To get you off to the best possible start, in this article we’re looking at how to choose a location, the basic tools you’ll need, how to prepare your garden bed, plant selection, companion plants, successful planning, sowing, watering, weeding, fertilizing, small space gardens, and containers for veggies.

Let’s turn the sod!

Pick Your Plot

If you’re new to gardening, it’s a good idea to start small.

Preparing the soil and planting are just the first steps to a bountiful harvest. As spring and summer progress, your garden will need to be weeded, watered, and maintained – all of which take time and energy.

To prevent overwhelm, begin with a plot that’s manageable for you and your schedule. An area as little as 8 by 8 feet will provide 64 square feet to work with, which is plenty of space to produce a good yield – and maintaining it won’t take up every spare minute of your time.

A level area that receives 6-8 hours of sunlight per day is ideal. It should also be sheltered from high winds, and have easy access to a water source, like a faucet.

Garden Tool Basics

A few basic tools will do for your first efforts. As your expertise develops, you can add specialized pieces.

To get the best value, invest in well-made tools of good quality materials that are appropriate for your size and build.

You’ll need the following:

  • A round-tipped shovel for digging.
  • A fork for turning and loosening soil.
  • A steel bow rake for cleaning and leveling.
  • A hoe or cultivator for weeding.
  • A hand trowel or hori hori and a hand cultivator for transplanting and weeding.
  • A hose and nozzle, or watering can.

Landscaping bags are light, but tough, and perfect for collecting yard waste. Photo by Lorna Kring.

And you’ll quickly appreciate these extras:

  • Garden gloves with nitrile-coated palms and fingers.
  • Bypass snips for pruning and cutting.
  • Sharp scissors or a garden knife for harvesting and pruning.
  • A kit bag to tote your gear, seeds, and hand tools.
  • A wheelbarrow for transporting sod, dirt, and compost.
  • A lightweight landscaper bag for gathering leaves, weeds, and grass clippings.
  • A kneeling pad, to save your knees.
  • A weed torch, to save your back.

A good tote bag will carry all of your hand tools. Photo by Lorna Kring. 3.2Kshares

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Photos by Lorna Kring, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Uncredited photos: .

About Lorna Kring

A writer, artist, and entrepreneur, Lorna is also a long-time gardener who got hooked on organic and natural gardening methods at an early age. These days, her vegetable garden is smaller to make room for decorative landscapes filled with color, fragrance, art, and hidden treasures. Cultivating and designing the ideal garden spot is one of her favorite activities – especially for gathering with family and friends for good times and good food (straight from the garden, of course)!

6 vegetable gardening tips every new food gardener needs to know

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In recent weeks, the rapidly increasing cost of vegetables, like cauliflower ($8.99 at my local grocery store!), has made headlines across North America. With food prices expected to continue to rise in the near future, more homeowners are turning to veggie gardens to offset the price of groceries. For those who are new to gardening – or at least new to food gardening – here are six vegetable gardening tips to get you started.

Niki’s 6 vegetable gardening tips:

1) Let there be light – Most veggies, especially those that bear fruit (tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and peppers, for example) need sun, and a lot of it. Ideally, you want a site with at least 8 hours of direct sun per day. In less light, you can still grow some edibles; mainly leafy crops and herbs. Check out my shady crop suggestions here.

2) Soil is everything – Healthy, rich soil is the key to a successful and productive vegetable garden, so don’t skip this step! A soil test will give you an idea of your existing soil fertility and pH, and offer suggestions of what types of fertilizers or amendments will get your plot up to par. In my own garden, I rely on homemade compost, organic well-composted animal manures, and organic fertilizers like kelp meal and alfalfa meal.

3) Keep it small – A vegetable garden can be low-maintenance, but it’s not no-maintenance. Therefore, do yourself a favor and stick to a small plot for the first year or two. A 4 by 8 foot bed is ideal for a starter veggie garden and will give you enough space to grow a handful of crops (see the next point). If you wish to start even smaller, try planting container-friendly veggies and herbs in pots or window-boxes on a sunny deck.

One of my best vegetable gardening tips – a home garden doesn’t have to be large to be productive. Even small beds can shave some serious dollars off your grocery budget.

4) Pick your plants – With your first veggie garden, it’s very tempting to want to grow everything! But, for your own sake, I’d suggest you pick 4 to 5 types of vegetables and grow them well. Trying to cram too much in a compact space is asking for trouble and you’ll end up with a smaller, not larger harvest. However, you can boost yield by succession planting. When your initial crops have been harvested, follow up with a second sowing. For example, follow spring lettuce with summer beans. Succession planting allows you to stretch your harvest season for the longest possible time.

Don’t be afraid to try new-to-you crops, like these quick growing Asian salad greens.

5) Bring on the blooms – Ok, this might be hard to believe, but most bugs are your friends! Yup, it’s true. Think bees, butterflies, tachinid flies, ladybugs and more! To attract these good guys to your garden – and boost crop pollination – include clumps of insect-friendly plants like sweet alyssum, zinnias, cosmos, and sunflowers between the veggies and herbs.

Related post: 4 flowers for the veggie garden

6) Water, weed & feed – This might seem to be one of the most obvious vegetable gardening tips, but new veggie gardeners may not know when or how much to water. Newly seeded beds will need frequent watering, but most established crops can get by on one to two inches of water per week. To conserve water and reduce the need to irrigate, mulch your soil with several inches of straw or shredded leaves. Side benefit: the mulch will also suppress weeds! As for feeding, quick growing crops like radishes and lettuce won’t need supplemental fertilizers if grown in in fertile soil. Long-term veggies like tomatoes, winter squash, and eggplants, however, will appreciate a boost several times over the growing season. Give them an occasional dose of a water soluble organic food to support growth and encourage the biggest harvest.

For more advice on growing a vegetable garden, check out these related posts:

  • Tips for growing tomatoes in raised beds
  • Edible garden design ideas
  • Container vegetable plants: The best varieties for success
  • Guide to vegetable garden pests: Identification and Organic Controls

Will you be planting your first vegetable garden this year? Tell us about your plans!

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