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|
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.
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