For planting times specific to your zip code, check out the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Vegetable Garden Planner.
Top Crops for Central and Midwest Gardening:
Here are the Top Ten crops for the Midwest region, followed by other recommended crops, as rated in our National Survey of Most Productive Garden Crops. (The criteria for selection include ease of culture, efficient use of garden space and time, ease of storage and desirability at the table.) The recommended crops are sorted by plant family to help you plan rotations so that the same plant families are not grown consecutively in the same area, as much as possible.
Cabbage family: Broccoli, cabbage, collards, kale, kohlrabi
Cucumber family: Cucumber, pumpkin, summer squash, winter squash
Leafy greens: Arugula, chard, mustard (all types), pac choi, sorrel, spinach, turnip
Legumes: Dry soup beans, pole snap beans, shell peas, Southern peas
Root crops: Beet, parsnip, potato, rutabaga, shallot, turnip
Tomato family: Hot peppers, tomatillo
Miscellaneous: Asparagus, leek, okra, rhubarb, scallion, sweet corn
Peas (snow, shell, snap)
Scallion (green onion)
* To learn more about when to sow seeds (indoors and outdoors) or when to transplant your seedlings to the garden, see: Know When to Plant What: Find Your Average Last Spring Frost Date.
* To learn more about how to start seeds, check out Seed-starting Basics. For a primer on how to transplant seedlings, see Garden Transplanting: Expert Advice.
* Find garden seeds from great mail-order companies with our Plant and Seed Finder.
* Learn more about high-quality seeds and great seed companies in Best Seeds for a Bigger, Better Garden and Best Garden Seed Companies, or through our seed company directory.
* You might also try swapping seeds locally.
* For tips on growing everything from apples to zucchini, see our Organic Gardening homepage.
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