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When to Plant Vegetables for Your Most Successful Garden Yet

When we plant vegetables, we have one ultimate goal in mind: harvesting delicious vegetables that you can cook right at home! But knowing when to plant vegetables, each specific kind of vegetable, is the key to making your harvest a good one.

The wonderful thing about vegetables is that, as long as your region isn’t experiencing too many hard frosts, you can grow vegetables. Some can be grown earlier and later in the season when the weather cools, others love hot, summer weather. Let’s explore when you can plant each vegetable to get the most out of the harvest.

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When to plant vegetables in cooler weather

You may find yourself looking out your window in early spring and pining for hot, summer weather to grow a lush garden in. But you might be surprised at what you can grow already! Many cold season vegetables can be planted when temperatures rise to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. These crops are so fond of cooler weather that some fail to thrive once it really starts warming up.

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Hardy cold weather vegetables are able to tolerate some frosting and freezing conditions, as long as they’re limited in scope. If your ground is frozen solid for weeks, don’t expect much action from these guys. But these crops are all ones that can be grown in fairly cold conditions:

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  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Collards
  • Garlic
  • Horseradish
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Rutabagas
  • Spinach
  • Turnips

There is another class of cooler weather crop that are considered half-hardy, meaning they can tolerate some light freezes but really only a few hours of freezing weather at a time. These can be planted early and covered during light frost conditions to be extra safe.

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  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Chicory
  • Globe artichokes
  • Endive
  • Lettuce
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes

Depending on where you live, the above crops can be planted and harvested very early and very late in the season, giving you a jump start on your garden’s bounty.

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Warmer weather vegetables

Summer is everyone’s favorite time of year to get their garden going because it’s during the warm weather that you can grow big, juicy tomatoes and versatile squash. The crops grown during this period of time are generally considered tender or very tender, the opposite of spring and fall’s hardy crops.

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Tender crops can be planted once your soil temperature has reached 50 degrees Fahrenheit. 60 degrees is even better. This requires an air temperature of about 65 degrees. Tender crops can usually be planted outside 2 weeks after the danger of frost has passed. Very tender crops should be kept indoors until 3 weeks after the danger of frost has passed.

The following are considered tender crops:

  • New Zealand spinach
  • Snap beans
  • Sweet corn
  • Tomatoes

And these are very tender crops:

  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Lima beans
  • Muskmelons
  • Okra
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Watermelons

It’s interesting to me that we consider summer to be prime gardening time but in reality, so much more can be grown in cooler weather! If you follow this guide, you’ll be enjoying bountiful harvests at different times almost year round.

Read next: 5 common straw bale gardening problems to avoid

Thomas Nelson
Environmental Advocate
Thomas is an environmental advocate currently residing in the Pacific Northwest. In his spare time, he enjoys experiencing the outdoors, raising chickens and ducks, and reading about current environmental issues. Despite slight colorblindness, his favorite color is green.
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