When growing your own fruits and vegetables, the first thing you need to know is when to plant different vegetables. Planting at the right time can make all the difference. But, many times this is the one hurdle that keeps us from planting at all. Let’s take a look at these tips for determining the best time to plant.
Knowing when to plant different vegetables
Tip 1: Determine how long the plants take to grow full size
The first thing you will need to do when timing your planting is figure out exactly how long each vegetable or herb is going to take to grow. This helps you to make a plan of attack, as well as deciding if you should start from a seed or a small plant. If you have time to spare, seeds might be best as they cost less, but plants are good when this is more of a last-minute project.
One way to know how long a vegetable takes to grow is to look at the seed packets. They usually say something like, 90 days to harvest. If you don’t have access to seed packets, you can take a look at growing guides for your zone. It’s important to know your plant hardiness zone so you can make sure the vegetables you choose will grow well where you live.
Generally, the plants with the shortest growing season include salad greens, peas and beans, and summer squash. Cucumbers, radishes, beets, and carrots also mature in less than 10 weeks. Tomatoes and peppers that have been started indoors can mature in as little as two months after transplanted outdoors. Some varieties of broccoli and cabbage also mature faster. Sweet corn, brussel sprouts, winter squash, melons, and a few others typically take the entire summer to mature. They must be planted in early summer and sometimes started indoors to get a headstart.
Tip #2: Determine what season in which they typically grow
Another method for knowing how to time your planting is looking at the seasons in which they grow. Below is an example of what grows when. Your seasonal chart may look different. That’s why I recommend knowing your plant hardiness zone and using that as a guide. Look at seed catalogs and talk to folks at your local garden nursery for additional help with this. This is one example of what you might do if you live in hardiness zones 4, 5, or 6.
For December, January, and February, you are still in the coldest parts of winter. This is when you want to start your tomatoes and bell pepper seeds, onions, and herbs like parsley, chives, basil, and oregano. Most of these seeds should be started indoors during the winter to avoid the frost. Some others to start indoors are dill, broccoli, beets, and cabbage.
Near the end of March when spring begins, you can start on your carrots, thyme and sage, lettuce, cucumbers, and corn. Melons, spinach, peas, summer squash, beans, and beats also are good to start in the spring.
Some of these may be the same as spring because they include veggies and herbs that prefer the hot summer heat. These include beans, cabbage, beets, cucumbers, carrots, corn, peas, and kale.
In the fall, you can start your radishes, spinach, garlic, blueberries, sprouts, and any vegetables you are starting from a plant instead of a seed.
I hope you have greater confidence to get started on planting for the next season in your area. Even if you have missed planting for the spring or summer, you can plant in early fall. Then, you will have some fresh vegetables for the winter months.