Learn when to get those veggies going! Spring Gardening 101

Published April 30, 2023 by Joyce
Spring Garden

Here in Central Vermont, the snow is long gone. The nurseries are packed with plants and seeds and you may be wondering if it is time to start planting.

The answer is YES!

And No.

Mid April - Some plants do fine at cooler temperatures. You can plant them as soon as the soil can be worked. Here in central Vermont (zone 4b - 5) about mid April. Some of these are beets, carrots, cilantro, dill, leaf and head lettuce, parsnips, peas, arugula, radishes, shallots, spinach, bunching onions and onions from seeds or sets (tiny bulbs).

First of May - you can put out transplants of cruciferous vegetable plants (such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chinese cabbage, collards, kale, kohlrabi). and continue planting the seeds mentioned above.

Newly Transplanted Broccoli
Newly transplanted broccoli

Some seeds should not be planted until the danger of frost is past. In my area, that is around June 1. Memorial Day weekend is the traditional time for gardeners in my area. These include planting green beans, dry beans, corn, potatoes, melons, squashes. You can transplant tomatoes, peppers, and other transplants.

There are still plenty of things you can plant during summer, but the above will get you started.

Read your seed packets! When shopping or at home, consult your seed packets. They have lots of helpful information including when to plant.

Seed Packets contain critical, concise Instructions
Seed Packets offer helpful instructions

Note: Get to know your garden! There are variations in these dates. I usually don't put out plants tender to frost on June 1. My farm is located in a little valley and the cold has a tendency to settle in. I wait one week longer and often avoid that one last frost that would destroy my work.

A frost can kill your tender plants. Cool weather after planting can cause your plants to be vulnerable to pathogens and to topple over and die even without a frost. Two years ago, I tried pushing the date back because it had been so warm and I lost 28 tomato plants!! Heat loving plants like tomatoes, pepper and basil will make up for any time lost by waiting that little bit longer.

For your grow zone, consult this USDA Map. Enter your zipcode to reveal your plant hardiness zone. This will help you to determine at the nursery or in seed catalogs which plants will grow successfully in your area.

For your last(and first) frost date, enter your zip code on the National Gardening Association website.

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