Best Time To Plant Vegetable Gardens

When spring comes, we are anxious to get our gardens planted. We don’t want to wait until warm summer days to start planting. So how to know what is the best time to get started?

Vegetable gardens can only be planted during specific times of the year. Seeds and seedlings require minimum soil temperatures to develop and grow. They need optimal soil temperatures to thrive.

The best time to seed vegetables depends on the type of plants. Cold-weather plants can be started soon after the last frost, and warm-weather vegetables should not be planted until warmer days of May or June.

In cold climates, the soil temperature in gardens hardly reaches 80 degrees at all. And even if it did, it might not be enough as crops wouldn’t have a chance to send up green shoots before frost.

Gardeners in hot-climate need to get their crops planted earlier so they will have a chance to mature before the hotness of the summer months.

A part of having a homestead-garden is growing your own vegetables. To grow your own food, you need to know when to plant them?

If you are growing your own fruit and vegetables, it’s important to know about the different seasons, as many vegetables need to be planted at different times of the year.

Growing conditions

Vegetables differ not only in size, color, shape, and taste but in their preferred growing conditions, too. Understanding when to plant vegetables depends on your climate and conditions—and the vegetable itself.

Relative to climate, vegetables are divided into two groups: cool season and warm season. Here are the steps you should take into consideration when planting vegetables.

How to find the right time?

Solving when to plant vegetables in your area requires some searching. You’ll need to look a few other variables on top of your geographic location, as well.

Factors to look – when to put your crops in the ground:

  • The type of plants you are going to grow and
  • How you are going to plant them (seedlings, transplants or seeds)

In an area with clear terms, your growing season will fall loosely between:

  1. Your expected frost-free date in the spring and
  2. The first hard frost date in the fall.

It is impossible to say these dates with full certainty. We have to use some general guidelines from online resources.

You might try to search for:

  • “frost-free date” + your geographic area

That should give you a valid view of when it might be safe to plant in your region.

Here is one resource for that:

But you have to be careful, as you never know when an unexpected late-season snow storm or unseasonably cold temperature hits into your area nowadays, as weathers are changing so rapidly.

However, if daytime soil temperature reaches 65 degrees or more, and you wait until after the expected frost-free date for your area, you should be safe. And you can always cover your garden beds with dark plastic sheets for a couple of weeks before planting to warm the soil faster.

As you form your yearly planting timeline, keep those two critical “frost-dates” as a guideline around your prime growing season.

However, if you want to extend your growing season even further, you can start seeds indoors. You can also protect your plants from cold temperatures with mulch, row covers, cold frames, or mini-hoop houses.

Ask Your Neighbors

Especially the elder neighbors, who have been living in your area for a very long time, might have practical information about the best times. There might be a little micro-climate that differs from the general temperatures of the area, and you might find it quickly by talking to the neighbors!

Plants need certain days to maturity

When you buy seeds, pay attention to the days to maturity information on the packages or plant markers. This shows you how many days it will take for the plant to be ready to harvest.

Some greens reach the harvest date much faster than others. For example, after they are sown as seeds, lettuce, radishes, and baby carrots can be ready in a month. Some pumpkin varieties can take a full 4-5 months before they are ready to harvest.

That gives you an idea of how early you need to get that plant into the ground so that it has enough time to reach maturity before the first hard frost date in the fall.

It also gives you an indication of how late in the spring you can plant certain varieties. For example, don’t wait until late summer in colder climates to plant pumpkins seeds that require 5 months to grow. On the other hand, fast-growing lettuce varieties can be planted 1-2 months or so before your expected frost time in the fall.

Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map of North America.

Learning what to plant and when in your area is an integral part of your gardening endeavor. Knowing your prime growing season, when it begins and ends, and how to get the most out of it, will make you a successful gardener. It helps you to choose which plants to grow and how to help those varieties prosper in your beautiful garden.


Easy Steps to Plant a Vegetable Garden

Lately, I’ve developed an immense joy for eating healthy. This being the case, I believe where possible, everyone should plant a seed in their yard to start a vegetable garden.

Planting a vegetable garden reduces cash spending in the supermarket. Rather than just go out and buy vegetables, I have chosen to start a garden and plant as much fruits and vegetables as possible.

Farming has not been a significant part of my family. But based on research I’ve conducted, and listening to medical experts, people are to eat raw vegetables and take in more fruits. It can go a long way of eliminating obesity, as well as terminal illnesses like cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and stroke. I endorse this objective and intend to learn all I could to have a healthy lifestyle.

If you love to cook, a vegetable garden can be one of the most fulfilling things you do. When you have your own plot, you can pick fresh seasonal veggies, herbs, and fruits as you need them. It is fresh, and you don’t need to drive to the grocery store.

How to plant a vegetable garden

But before anything else: you need to decide between a raised-bed garden or an in-ground one. Raised beds consist of purchased topsoil that sits within a wooden frame. They are ideal if your soil is stony or sandy.

An in-ground garden needs less watering. For an in-ground, test your soil to find out what nutrients it requires. Garden centers sell do-it-yourself test-kits.

Here’s how to start and plant a vegetable garden in four easy steps.

1. What to plant

You can start for instance by making a list of all the foods and recipes you regularly make. Note especially which herbs and vegetables you use repeatedly. This will tell you what you should plant and in what amount.

List also other items your family likes. Growing your own vegetables is a great way to open your culinary boundaries, even if you aren’t using them currently.

Get your children involved in this planning phase, so that they become more interested in gardening, too. Ask what they might like to grow? Make recommendations if they are too small to come up with ideas on their own. As you can guess, pumpkins, ornamental gourds and sunflowers (for their beauty and seeds) are popular choices with kids. Lettuce and beans, and other fast-growing plants are also wonderful choices for children as they offer results quickly.

Once you’ve have a list of plants you want to grow, search online or stop by your local garden center to find seeds and transplants. Remember to study what grows well in your area.

2. Pick a Location

Planting a successful garden depends much about location.

Pick a spot that gets enough sun and isn’t obscured by trees or bushes.

If you want your plants to flourish, there are a couple of items you will need to provide:

1. Sunshine. Pick a spot that gets enough sun and isn’t obscured by trees or bushes. Look for a place that has at least 6 hours of direct sunlight through the day.

2. Water. You will need to water your plants quite a lot, so make sure the location you choose has easy access to water, and you have a convenient source of water close enough.

3. Accessibility. Gardens need a lot of care and work. Position your plot in an area that is convenient to get to. Remember, that you need some tools to work in it. If you have to store your tools too far from the garden, or if it is out of the reach of a wheelbarrow, you may find your motivation hindering.

Make your life easier by establishing the garden in the most accessible sunny location you can find.

4. Good Drainage. In an area of compacted soil or heavy clay, this may be a big one, and some extra work is needed. If the area collects standing water, you will need to build your beds up to protect your plants from getting overly wet.

3. Creating Garden Beds

Once the location is set, then you will need to decide how to put the individual beds within it. Keep on eye how the sunlight moves throughout the day. Taller plants can cast shadows to others if they aren’t positioned correctly.

To create the individual beds, you can do it by first removing layers of sod. Then you continue by tilling and amending the soil beneath it before planting your vegetables and other plants.

This traditional method will certainly work, although it needs some hard work.

Alternatively, you can build your beds up rather than digging down. This method works both with raised garden beds or directly on the ground.

First, add flattened cardboard or a thick stack of newspapers on top of the ground. Then add other beds of peat, topsoil, aged manure or barn litter, organic mulch, yard clippings, and compost.

In colder environments, the short growing season means that some plants are impossible to grow directly from seed.

You can prepare this kind of beds months in advance or just before you plant. Either way, the layers will mix together into a beautiful, fertile soil for your vegetables.

4. Planting

When your beds are ready, it’s time for planting. Before you start digging, you have these choices to make:

  • you can sow seeds straight into the soil.
  • Start seeds indoors. You can more easily provide the perfect conditions, like ideal temperature, moisture, and fertility. Then harden them off outdoors (hardening off means increasing plant’s stamina), before adding them to your garden beds.
  • plant established transplants you’ve bought directly into your prepared beds.

It all depends on what plants you choose, and what kind of soil you have. Some seeds require direct sowing. Others need to be started indoors many weeks before the frost-free date in your region. As you create a list of plants you want to grow, make a note of the growing specifications. That way you can give your seeds the best chance of survival.

Bonus tips

1. Companion plants for vegetables

It takes more than good soil and sun to guarantee success in a vegetable garden. Plant certain compatible plants and herbs near your vegetables.

To find out which veggies grow better together and which are best kept far apart, you can start with this companion planting article:

3. Put in some flowers

Welcome pollinators and friendly bugs that eat pests by planting flowers among your veggies. Flowers attract bees, the most important pollinators, and that helps pollinate your plants.

If you follow these easy steps to plant a vegetable garden, you will be rewarded all season long with a plentiful supply of fresh and healthy produce. Plus, you’ll have the added pleasure of knowing you did it with your very own hands.

5 Tips for Vegetable Gardening

Vegetable gardening has grown exponentially in recent years. Why not – you can produce food that is free from chemicals to your family.

Gardening is not rocket science, but it is hard work, and you are going to get dirty in it.

You don’t need a lot of space to grow fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruits. You don’t really even need a garden. There are plant varieties that can also survive in containers all year long.

It is a pure pleasure to bite a freshly picked tomato from your own garden while it is still warm from the summer sun. When you have your private vegetable garden, you can have this pleasure all season round.

Have fun, don’t take life, and gardening, too seriously.

However, growing a sufficient amount of fresh vegetables every year takes some time and experience. For most of us, becoming a successful vegetable gardener comes after years of practice. Nevertheless, you can reduce your learning curve by employing some proven vegetable gardening tips.

Here are five vegetable gardening tips good to know.

1. Improve your soil

Few of us are blessed with a generous supply of beautiful, fertile land and topsoil. Depending on where you are living, you may find yourself fighting with harsh conditions, like heavy clay, rocky, sandy or other less-than-ideal soil.

Healthy soil means that you can enjoy healthy plants, which resist pests and diseases, reducing the need for harmful pesticides.

Each of these soil types gives you various challenges, like retaining too much or too less water, or not having enough nutrients plants need to live. For instance, if you have heavy clay soil, you can’t just dig a hole in the ground and drop a plant into it. Chances are that plant won’t survive. The heavy clay around your plant will work as a water tank. When it rains, your plant will be like in a bathtub. This kind of clay soil doesn’t have anything to drain.

Your step number one is to identify the type of soil you have. Then you know what actions to take to improve it. Once you have a better understanding of what you are dealing with, you’ll be able to determine what is needed to change or enhance your type of soil.

2. Take advantage of vertical space

You can take advantage of vertical space in your garden, whenever possible. You can do it by utilizing netting, fences, and other constructions to keep your weeds off the ground.

There are many benefits to raising your vegetables vertically. For starters, you can produce more food in a smaller area. That is great for urban gardens or those with otherwise limited space. Plus, harvesting and weeding around your plants is a lot easier when you are growing vegetables on structural supports. Less bending and stretching is always helpful for your lower back. This is especially beneficial for older gardeners or those with other physical limitations.

Raising vertically helps your plants, too. Growing the plants off the ground channels a better air circulation around them. Good air circulation helps to keep fungal infections and pest infestations low.

3. Plants benefit from friends

Some plants work well with each other, and some not. Learning which plants benefit from the proximity of others is a vital step to maximize the efficiency of your vegetable garden. Companion planting is a smart way to improve your harvest.

Some plants are especially helpful to one another. It makes sense to group these seedlings together in your garden.

Certain combinations of plants may add:

  • needed nutrients to the soil,
  • deter unwanted pests or
  • attract useful insects into your field.

Native Americans usually planted corn, beans, and squash together. Each plant helped the others in some way. For example, the corn stalks gave a framework for the beans to grow up. The squash gave a great weed stop as it spread out along the ground.

4. Pollinators are your allies

It is vital to guarantee that your garden is helpful for pollination by creating an ecosystem that drags pollinators (primarily insects). You can do this for instance by mixing some colorful flowers with your vegetables. One of the most valuable allies that your beginner vegetable garden can have are pollinators.

5. Seeds

You can buy everything online these days, and seed is no exemption. People are selling seed on Craigslist, and there are undoubtedly hundreds of sites where you can buy seed online. Buy your seeds from a trusted source to avoid getting something else than what you ordered.

More info about best seed companies online:

Vegetable gardening is a skill that develops over time. However, there is no doubt that applying these vegetable gardening tips will reduce your learning curve.

Vegetable gardens for beginners

Vegetable gardens are sought for in all over the world, as the big trend in gardening is growing your own food. Using organically grown veggies is an ever-growing movement.

Vegetable gardening is also an easy way to save money, and if you plan it right, you don’t need to spend hours taking care of it. The size of your garden space doesn’t matter, it can be big or small.

Nevertheless, a majority of what we consume today aren’t free of insecticides and pesticides. These harmful chemicals are absorbed by the roots of plants and captured in their produce.

These chemicals are effective at instantly killing insects and pest. Slowly but surely they harm our biological system too.

When producing at home, we prioritize quality over quantity.

Organic food seems to be the immediate option. But its authenticity is doubtful. It isn’t inexpensive either. What we need is vegetable gardens right in our homes and yards. We want it close to make maintenance easy.

Location matters

Location of plants has a bigger say in their performance. By placing the plants far from home, they get off the attention. They get maximum care only when they are placed near home. Place or plant them where you will usually wind up for leisure. Initially, they can be kept indoors and eventually moved to outdoors when they are fully grown.

Is it modern and scientific?

Vegetable gardens at home are making a trend very recently. Interior decorators, landscape designers, and horticulturists encourage the practice. The vegetable gardens are not part of any anti-scientific drive. It just gets you off the toxic grid, infested by pesticides and insecticides.

When producing at home, we prioritize quality over quantity. We grow the plants in a controlled environment. There are plenty of researches and papers happening on home gardens. It’s not too tough to check for resources online. You can always consult with the local agriculture and horticulture societies in your area.

Choosing vegetable varieties

There are tons of plant varieties to choose from. When space is limited, choose veggies that produce smaller plants.

You can choose the best disease resistant varieties with better hot-cold tolerance as low maintenance plants. There are high yield varieties to consider, if you are taking up gardening as trade. Pick two or three varieties to even out an odd failure plant. You can always grow the low performing varieties in another season.

Soil requirements

You need the right kind of soil for every plant. With containers and collected soil, you can grow plants that are not native to the area. You can keep your plants indoors as well as outdoors. That’s as far as containers go.

If you can’t get the right kind of soil prepare homemade compost. Use your day to day decomposable waste in it. Frequently add toppings to improve breathability and protection against frost. The idea is to get a well-drained, organically rich soil. Soil temperature always plays a part. There are soil thermometers to measure that.

Choosing container type

Use appropriate container type for each plant. Salads are pretty much the easiest. They need a narrow container, where the roots grow deep. Tomatoes can be grown in mostly all types of containers. Potatoes do well in bigger containers including bags and sacs improvised for this purpose. The container type is decided by the water requirement of the particular plant species.

A little about my blog

Hi, I’m Theresa, city-raised girl originally from Munich, Germany, who now lives small-town life, loves mountains, and the simple life in Colorado. Follow me as I explore this lovely state. And join me as I learn how to cook and garden, with tweaks for a modern working woman.

A little about my blog

I never thought that someday I would start a blog, as I sit well enough in front of a computer in my daily work. And I have never been interested in learning how to do gardening, or how to cook except basic foods.

But things changed when I met my boyfriend. He is farm-raised boy from Kansas, who told how his mom baked bread from scratch every day, and they got fresh food from their own garden.

He also urged me to find a hobby. Well, we have a hobby, cycling is a big part of our lives, and we have good opportunities for cycling on roads and mountains in here. But besides that, it is more like watching TV every night. So we believe that hobbies are what keep us happy, we look forward to that at the end of a long, stressful work days.

So with cooking, I prefer to follow a recipe precisely as written, but I’ve found that some experimentation is necessary to suit our tastes. My boyfriend is perfectly happy throwing whatever elements to the pan to see what works and what doesn’t. I don’t naturally have those adventuresome senses.

But just as I got more confident in the kitchen, I started thinking about other hobbies I could do with my hands. A break from the computer that’s constantly facing me at work is well needed indeed.

When we rented our house, I bought some seed packets to start a small flower garden. My success in growing tomatoes wasn’t that good, but it anyways encouraged me to try to grow peppers, and then lettuce. Now we have a mini vegetable garden in the backyard.

It made me think about beginning my own backyard “farmstead.”

I’m not sure how far I will actually go with my “urban farming” hobby. But I am interested in learning how to make pickles. 🙂

I invite you to join me in my adventures in homesteading. I’m going to get to basics and learn how to make things from scratch. I’m looking forward to the journey.