When to plant vegetables – Chart And Guidelines

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Wondering when to plant vegetables in your garden?

Now that you’ve decided to start a vegetable garden, the next step is to figure out  are the planting times. In the past, I assumed that Spring was the planting time for all vegetables. It made sense (new beginnings and all). Not all plants fare well during the Spring.  The reason being, they do not all need the same amount of moisture and heat. Understanding the correct planting times will help you eat food that is in season.

First things first………

How do you know when to plant vegetables?

when to start planting

It may take some detective work, but once you pin this down you’ll be set for life. You’ll need to consider a few things first:

  • Your geographic region
  • The kind of vegetables you intend to plant
  • Frost free window for your area
  • “Days to maturity” for each vegetable that you intend to plant

Later in the post, I will provide a “when to plant vegetables’ chart” to simplify the kind of veggies that do well when planted in certain seasons.

Frost free window

If you live in a geographic region with easily distinguishable seasons (of which I’m lucky to be), estimating planting times shouldn’t be difficult. You’ll simply target the frost free window, which falls between sometime in Spring, and later in the Fall/Autumn season.

A simple search engine entry of “first frost date in….. (your area)” OR “frost free date in…. (area)will give you the resources to determine the heavy frost date for where you live. The key is to ensure that your last planting cycle (mainly autumn) has yielded significant growth,  6-8 weeks before the first heavy frost.

The point is to give your plants a chance to thrive, but the above dates are not exact (which is fine). The frost free date publications will not take into account unexpected weather changes like storms, or heavy rains. If you want to be on the safe side, you can wait for the dates to pass and start planting a week or 2 later. For your piece of mind, wait until the soil reaches a temperature of 65 °F/ 18°Celsius.

You can also warm up your soil faster by covering your plant beds with dark plastic sheets, several weeks prior to planting.

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Days to maturity

Also pay close attention to the “days to maturity” information noted at the back of your seed packets. They will help you plan your planting cycle. Some veggies take longer to reach maturity e.g radishes and baby carrots take about a month to maturity, while pumpkins may take up to 160 days.  All these variations need to be accounted for when you are planning for your vegetable gardening.

When to plant vegetables –  chart

When to plant vegetables

Once you understand the need to factor in frost dates, and “days to maturity” of plants – you will benefit immensely from a chart  that lays out the appropriate seasons for planting certain vegetables. I chose the common ones, and the ones that I plant frequently. Download the chart below:

When to plant vegetables

You’ll notice that some vegetables can be planted during all 3 seasons e.g radishes, potatoes, and spinach. Tomatoes, however do not do well during the Fall/Autumn season as they love high temperatures. Print the chart and hang it for easy reference.

I hope this post has steered you to the right direction towards getting your vegetable garden started. Feel fee to leave a comment about anything related to gardening. You could be helping us all.

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