When to Plant Vegetables

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: When to Plant Vegetables

  1. Early spring - as soon as the ground can be worked (soil temp. of ~5°C or 40°F)
  2. Midspring - approximately 2 weeks before the last expected frost date
  3. Early summer - when the trending weather provides warm sun and soil
  4. 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.


When To Plant Vegetables Table - Planting Guidelines

Common Garden Plants
Sow Indoors
(+/- final frost)
Grow Time From Seed to Transplant
Sow/Transplant Outdoors
(+/- final frost)
Optimal Soil Temperature
Asparagusbest to sow from crowns outdoors--soon as ground can be worked (between last frosts)--
Basil3-5 weeks before final frost4-6 weeks1 week after final frost21°C
70°F
Beanssow from seed outdoors--at frost date10-32°C
50-90°F
depending on variety
Beets7-8 weeks before final frost5-6 weeks2 weeks before final frost10-26°C
50-79°F
Broccoli6-8 weeks before final frost4-6 weeks2 weeks before final frost10-30°C
50-86°F
Cabbage6-8 weeks before final frost4-6 weeks2 weeks before final frost10-30°C
50-86°F
Carrotssow from seed outdoors--2-3 weeks before7-30°C
45-86°F
Cauliflower6-8 weeks before final frost4-6 weeks2 weeks before final frost10-30°C
50-86°F
Celery9-12 weeks before final frost10-12 weeks1 weeks after final frost15-24°C
60-75°F
Chard6 weeks before final frost4 weeks2 weeks before final frost10-30°C
50-85°F
Cilantrobest sown outdoors--3-0 weeks before final frost15°C
60°F
Corn0-2 weeks before final frost2-4 weeks0-2 weeks after final frost18°C
65°F
Cucumber1-2 weeks before final frost4 weeks1-2 weeks after final frost15-30°C
60-86°F
Dillbest sown outdoor outdoors--3-0 weeks before final frost15-21°C
60-70°F
Eggplant4-6 weeks before final frost6-8 weeks2 weeks after final frost24-32°C
75-90°F
Kalebest sown outdoors--early spring to mid-summer10-30°C
50-86°F
Kohlrabi6-8 weeks before final frost4-6 weeks2-4 weeks before final frost10-30°C
50-86°F
Leek10-12 weeks before final frost8-10 weeks2 weeks before final frost10-25°C
50-75°F
Lettuce4-6 weeks before4 weeks2-4 weeks before final frost10-22°C
50-72°F
Marigold5 weeks before final frost6 weeks1 week after final frost21-25°C
70-77°F
Onions10-12 weeks before final frost8-10 weeks3-4 weeks before21-25°C
70-77°F
Parsley10-12 weeks before final frost8-10 weeks2 weeks before final frost27°C
80°F
Peassow from seed outdoors--6 weeks before final frost10-20°C
50-68°F
Peppers5-7 weeks before final frost6-8 weeks1-2 weeks after final frost25-29°C
77-84°F
Potatosow from tubers outdoors--0-2 weeks after final frost6°C
43°F
Pumpkinsow from seed outdoors--0-2 weeks after final frost20-35°C
68-95°F
Radishsow from seed outdoors--3-4 weeks before final frost18-24°C
65-75°F
Sage6-10 weeks before final frost5-9 weeks1-2 weeks before final frost15-21°C
60-70°F
Spinachsow from seed outdoors--4-6 weeks before final frost5-20°C
41-70°F
Squash2-3 weeks before final frost3-4 weeks1-2 weeks after final frost25-35°C
77-95°F
Tomato7-9 weeks before final frost6-8 weeks1-2 weeks after final frost25-35°C
77-95°F
Turnipsow from seed outdoors--2-3 weeks before final frost18-21°C
65-70°F
Zucchini2-4 weeks before final frost3-5 weeks1 week after final frost to midsummer25-35°C
77-95°F

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.

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