People usually think that late spring is the best time to start a garden. However, depending on the vegetables or flowers you want to grow and the region where you live, the time may be earlier or later than this. Whether you are planning to start seeds indoors first or buy planters from a local nursery, there will be a specific time to start the seeds.
If you are wondering about the best planting time for certain vegetables, you have come to the right place. Here, we will not only look at the different types of vegetables but also a few tweaks to plant them earlier or later depending on your own preparation and their requirements. So, let’s get started.
Cool Season vs. Warm Season Plants
Vegetables are broadly classified as cool-season and warm-season vegetables. Cool-season plants usually thrive at lower temperatures. Some notable vegetables that fall under this category include broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, peas, and turnips. Warm-season plants, on the other hand, are usually planted in late spring to late summer. These plants do not survive when the nights are too cold. Corn, melons, pumpkin, sweet potato, and watermelon are known as warm-season plants.
Then there are some plants that are first planted indoors and then moved outside after a while. Indoor plants usually grow faster than the ones that are sewn directly outside. As a rule of thumb, remember early fall plants should be planted directly in the sun and the summer crops or ones that require a longer duration to grow to maturity should be planted inside.
For plants that will be transplanted outside later, the seeds need to be started about a month before the date of the last frost. The best planting time for these plants is from late March to early June. Some plants like broccoli and cauliflower can be planted even earlier.
Which Seeds to Start First?
Gardeners wait till March to sow their seeds because the soil is still hard and frozen from the winter frost. However, indoor plants can be started as early as mid-January. But don’t try this method with summer vegetables like tomatoes because they will need warmer soil to grow. So, if it’s early spring and you want to start your garden, sow these seeds first:
- Snow peas
- Summer squash
- Swiss chard
If you don’t want to start the seeds indoors, it’s best to buy starter plants from a local nursery and then plant them directly outside in early spring. It’s recommended to plan your garden well before you actually start the seeds. You will not only consider plant arrangement but also which vegetables you like and how much sun exposure they need.
Just like planting too early can be a disaster, so is planting late. Remember, if you start too early the soil will not only be clumpy but also wet from the melted snow. You have to wait until the soil has the right amount of moisture. The ideal soil temperature for most plants is about 70 degrees F. But, as discussed earlier, there are some vegetables that can handle lower temperatures.
For the vegetables mentioned above, if you plan to sow them early, use fresh soil in a container rather than freshly thawed soil. This is particularly useful for new gardeners who are not experienced with sowing plants before.
- The 8 Things You Can do for your Garden in the Winter
- 4 Things you can do for your Garden in the Fall
- What garden plants can survive frost?
Those who are new to gardening may not know that it’s possible to plant the seeds much earlier than the spring season. In fact, if you start gardening in the month of February, you will likely be enjoying some of your fresh vegetables in the month of April. Depending on your location, work out the average frost dates and then plan your seeds accordingly. Remember, autumn harvest is a little tricky with winter just around the corner, you will need to harvest as many vegetables as you can.
Experts recommend preparing the garden in the fall if you plan to start the garden in the spring. If you want to add organic matter or other tools to improve soil texture and structure, fall is the time to start doing it. However, if you have already achieved these steps, early spring is the best time to grow a garden.
All the best!