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When is the Best Time to Plant Vegetables?

The pandemic saw numerous trends come and go. From Zoom parties to countless sourdough starters, there’s just about anything and everything that’s helping us get through such unprecedented times. One that stayed is gardening.

Growing one’s own has made more people realize just how rewarding, productive and peaceful gardening really is — particularly vegetable gardening.

There’s a lot to be said on how to plant vegetables for maximum harvest. However, here’s an equally important question: When is the best time to plant them?

A farmer holding his harvest.

Understanding Timing

One, if not the most essential factor in vegetable gardening is timing. Knowing which ones grow best during cold or warm climates help determine when the best time these vegetables is.

Cool season veggies work best during early spring and late summer as well as autumn. If you plant them without considering the season, they will go to seed. These vegetable crops must mature at just the right time, meaning cool season ones must be planted while the weather is cool. Warm weather crops must be planted and grown after the last frost.

Cabbage being harvested.

Knowing your Area

Another factor in terms of knowing the best time to plant these vegetables is where you live. Tropical countries don’t have the same share of cool season as others. That’s why it’s ideal to plant warm season vegetables all year round.

For countries like the USA, vegetable gardening is inevitably dictated by the current weather. In turn, countries that are experiencing cold climate on a regular basis are better off planting cool season crops all the year round.

When thinking in terms of zones, the best approach is to ask your local county for their most updated planting calendar to guide you.

Farmer checking soil.

Befriending Temperature

Temperature is everything in vegetable gardening. This your crops directly, making it critical to plant the right veggie with the right soil temperature.

Cool season vegetables are best planted in temperatures between 40 - 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Thankfully, many seed packages come with specific temperature tags to help you out. Hardy cool season crops can be planted 2-4 weeks just before the last frost.

When it comes to warm season crops, forget about planting them if the temperature drops below 50 degrees F. These tender crops will die from the cold. Planting warm season veggies is best down 2-4 weeks after the last frost.

Determining the Right Vegetables

Here are some common cool season and warm season vegetables to help you identify which ones grow best during the right time. You can start your vegetable garden with grow bags or raised beds.

Cool Season Vegetables

Carrots being harvested.
  • Collards
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Parsnips
  • Tulips
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic
  • Fennel
  • Kale
  • Fava Beans
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes
  • Broccoli

Warm Season Vegetables

Tomatoes being picked by a farmer.
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplants
  • Okra
  • Peppers
  • Sweet corn
  • Pumpkin
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cucumber
  • Sweet Potato
  • Lima Bean
  • Artichoke

In terms of understanding when the best time to plant vegetables, the universal answer is it truly depends on where you live and which crops you can ultimately work with. Consider the above information as a guide to help you grow your own veggies and continue on with what is arguably the most enriching trend there is.

hands planting in raised bed garden

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Fruits and vegetables being carried

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A man using Ecogardener Landscape Fabric

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