Central and Midwest Region


garden regions 



“The ability to save seed is probably one of the most valuable tools for self-sufficiency that I know of. In fact, it’s a logical next step for anyone who’s honed his or her gardening skills to a high degree – and another way that people can ‘unplug’ themselves from our economic system.” 

The Plowboy Interview: Kent Whealy

Founder, Seed Savers Exchange, January/February 1982

If you're not sure how to start seeds or when to set out transplants, see the Resources section below.

If you have any tips for how to cope with regional conditions where you garden, please share them with other gardeners in your area by posting a comment below. 

To read more about what to plant in other months and regions, visit our What to Plant Now home page.

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 Central and Midwest gardens, 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.

Top 10 Crops:

1.   Tomatoes (slicing)
2.   Peppers (sweet)
3.   Tomatoes (cherry)
4.   Onions
5.   Snap beans (bush)
6.   Carrots
7.   Garlic
8.   Tomatoes (paste)
9.   Peas (snow or snap)
10. Lettuce 

Other Highly Recommended Crops:

Cabbage family:  broccoli, cabbage, collards, kale, kohlrabi 

Cucumber family:  cucumberssummer squash, winter squash, pumpkin

Leafy greens:  spinach, mustard (all types), turnip greens, chard, arugula, pac choi, sorrel

Legumes:  snap beans (pole), peas (shell), dry soup beans, Southern peas

Root crops:  potatoes, garlic, turnip, beets, radish, parsnip, shallot, rutabaga

Tomato family:  peppers (hot), tomatillo

Miscellaneous:  asparagus, rhubarb, leeks, scallions, sweet corn, okra 


Sow Indoors   

Sow Outdoors  


Asparagus  XXX    XXX 













Kale  XXX     





Lettuce  XXX     





Onions, bulb  








Scallion (green onion)  




Shallot (seed) XXX     
Spinach  XXX     






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