Are you confused about when to plant vegetables? The temptation to get your garden growing may come on strong in early spring, but gardeners should know that certain crops do much better when planted later in the season. Let’s take a look at the best time to plant certain vegetables and the benefits of getting a head start on your garden by planting seeds indoors.

Early Spring

when to plant vegetables


The hardier the vegetable, the more likely it is to survive the cold weather. Potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, as well as spinach, lettuce and turnips are all hardy enough to withstand the wintry weather. You can plant these crops four to six weeks before the frost-free date in the spring.

Mid to Late Spring

On the other hand, crops such as corn, beans, cucumbers, melons, okra, peppers, tomatoes, pumpkins and eggplant love the warmth and thrive in temperatures between 65 and 90 degrees F. The frost will kill these fruits and vegetables, so they should be planted one to two weeks after the frost-free date.


KaleCrops like kale, spinach, collards, radishes and Brussels sprouts can survive hard frosts, making them an excellent choice for fall gardens. Many of them taste best when they mature in cooler weather and will continue producing well after the first frost.

Starting Seeds Indoors

Southern Exposure Seeds

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If you want to get a head start on your spring gardening, starting seeds indoors in winter or early spring is a great way to get your garden producing as quickly as possible by the time the warm weather arrives. It provides a stable, controlled environment for your seedlings to thrive without the unpredictability of factors like weather and pests. This will give your plants the best chance of survival possible when it comes time to move them outdoors.

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You can find a great resource for what vegetable top plant when based on your region here.

Find more information on planting cold-hardy spring vegetables in our Spring Gardening Guide. And when it’s time to harvest, check out our tips for harvesting summer vegetables.


  1. We love Red Gold tomatoes! I have a garden and hope you can advise me on tomato plants. Ours grow tall and spendly, how do I keep them low and full?
    Thanks for your help.


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