Spring into Planting Season

Timely spring planting season tips for where you live.

| April/May 2006

  • planting season - illustration of vegetable assortment
    Sow your tomato seeds during the spring planting season and you’ll harvest a rich mixture of color and flavor later this year.
    Illustration by Judith Ann Griffith/Seed Savers Exchange
  • spring planting - US map
    Gardening regions of the U.S. and southern Canada.
  • planting season - spring greens and red romaine lettuce
    A basket of spring greens nestled in a bed of red romaine lettuce.Pepper grass, beet greens, mizuna (Japanese greens with a light mustard flavor) and red orach.
    Rick Wetherbee

  • planting season - illustration of vegetable assortment
  • spring planting - US map
  • planting season - spring greens and red romaine lettuce

Temperature and weather conditions have a wide variation, but gardeners across the U.S. universally recognize that spring is planting season. We've consulted experts from each region to give their advice on best crops and best practices. 

Maritime Canada and New England

Woodcocks and redwing blackbirds are calling, reassuring us that warmer days are on the way. Start early greens such as mustard, mesclun mix, arugula, spinach, lettuce and cilantro in cold frames or a greenhouse bed. Prune fruit trees, fertilize, and weed berry canes and asparagus. (Wet spring soil makes for easy weeding.)

Once your garden has thawed, plant greens outside under row covers. Set out onion sets, seedlings and leeks as soon as the ground can be worked. Start tomatoes, brassicas, flowers and herbs in the greenhouse, cold frame or under grow lights. Transplant tomato and pepper plants into larger pots before their roots become crowded. Start seedlings of cucumbers, winter and summer squash, melons and gourds in early May, about four weeks before transplanting into warm, frost-free soil. Crocuses and snowdrops make way for early narcissus. In the blink of an eye, the tomato seedlings will have grown another 6 inches.

Roberta Bailey, Fedco Seeds, Waterville, Maine


April is for planting. Start chard and early summer lettuces such as Sweet Valentine or Thai Oakleaf 88. Harden off brassicas and transplant outside in the middle of the month.

4/26/2007 12:35:30 PM

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