Seed Starting in Your Vegetable Garden

Gauge planting time and average dates of last spring frost for every planting area in North America.


| March/April 1982


The still-timid sunshine kneads the frozen soil with ever-strengthening fingers, and March's cool gray showers turn gardens into glistening swamps of chilled mud. Restrain your sowing impatience until the earth is ready and then prepare a rich bed to receive the seeds and host yet another performance of Mother Nature's annual miracle.

Spring Planting Time

Here's an all-purpose timetable for planting your 1982 garden, based on the actual frost-free date for your locality. A local weather bureau should be able to tell you when that is or you can easily calculate it by adding about 14 or 21 days to the average date of the last frost in your vicinity, as indicated in the chart. Add 14 days if your growing ground has good air drainage and is usually as warm as — or warmer than — its surroundings and 21 days if your garden tends to be a frost trap or is in a colder-than-normal area.

When to Start Garden Crops

  • Asparagus (seeds or purchased roots): Plant 28 to 40 days before frost-free date.
  • Beans, lima (seeds): Plant 7 to 14 days after frost-free date.
  • Beans, snap (seeds): Plant 7 days after frost-free date.
  • Beets (seeds): Plant 7 to 14 days before frost-free date.
  • Broccoli (transplants): Plant 28 to 40 days before frost-free date.
  • Brussels sprouts (transplant): Plant 28 to 40 days before frost-free date.
  • Cabbage (seeds or transplants): Plants 28 to 40 days before frost-free date.
  • Cantaloupe (seeds or transplants): Plant 7 days after frost-free date.
  • Carrots (seeds): Plant 14 to 28 days before frost-free date.
  • Cauliflower (transplants): Plant 14 to 28 days before frost-free date.
  • Celery (transplants): Plant 7 to 14 days after frost-free date.
  • Chinese cabbage (seeds): Plant 28 to 40 days before frost-free date.
  • Collards (seeds): Plant 14 to 28 days before frost-free date.
  • Corn (seeds): Plant 7 days after frost-free date.
  • Cucumbers (seeds or transplants): Plant 7 days after frost-free date.
  • Eggplant (transplants): Plant7 to 14 days after frost-free date.
  • Endive (seeds): Plant28 to 40 days before frost-free date.
  • Kale (seeds): Plant 28 to 40 days before frost-free date. (More often a fall crop.)
  • Kohlrabi (seeds): Plant28 to 40 days before frost-free date.
  • Leeks (transplants): Plant 14 to 40 days before frost-free date.
  • Lettuce (seeds or transplants): Plant 28 to 40 days before frost-free date.
  • Mustard (seeds): Plant 14 to 28 days before frost-free date.
  • Okra (transplants): Plant 7 days after frost-free date.
  • Onions (seeds or transplants): Plant 28 to 40 days before frost-free date.
  • Parsnips (seeds): Plant 14 to 28 days before frost-free date.
  • Parsley (transplants): Plant 28 to 40 days before frost-free date.
  • Peas (seeds): Plant 28 to 40 days before frost-free date.
  • Peppers (transplants): Plant 7 days after frost-free date.
  • Radishes (seeds): Plant 14 to 28 days before frost-free date. (10-day succession planting.)
  • Spinach (seeds): Plant 28 to 40 days before frost-free date.
  • Squash (seeds or transplants): Plant 7 days after frost-free date.
  • Swiss chard (seeds): Plant 14 to 28 days before frost-free date.
  • Tomatoes (transplants): Plant on frost-free date.
  • Turnips (seeds): Plant 28 to 40 days before frost-free date.
  • Watermelon (seeds or transplants): Plant 7 days after frost-free date.




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