Planning what to plant each season can be fun as you dream of all the delicious things your kitchen garden will bring you, but you should know your hardiness before you start buying plants.
The USDA has divided America into hardiness zones. A hardiness zone is a geographical area that determines which plants grow best in that climate.
You can use your zone to pick varieties especially well adapted to your climate.
And if you know your hardiness zone, you can find average soil temperature data during different parts of the year, so you always plant seeds or transfers at the right time.
Growing a spring garden means growing cold-weather crops. Some of these veggies can survive frost, and others get sweeter with low temperatures.
Seeds can be sowed as soon as the ground can be worked, 2 weeks before the last frost, or up to 1 month before the last frost date if you are sowing inside.
Seeds are ready to plant immediately after the last frost or inside, 4-6 weeks before the last frost.
Spinach can be started inside as early as 6 weeks before the last frost date, and you can sow seeds directly in the soil as soon as it can be worked.
Cabbage should be planted 4 weeks before the last frost, or it can be started up to 8 weeks before the last frost.
Most fruit trees are sold as bare-root plants meaning they come without being potted in soil. Instead, they have been stored in a cool area all winter while in a dormant state. Early spring is the best to get fruit trees in the ground because transplanting the dormant tree is less stressful than planting the active tree.
The season of plenty. Gardeners love summer.
Tomatoes and other Nightshades
The nightshades include tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and potatoes. These crops should be started within 4-6 weeks before the last frost or sowed directly in the soil within a few weeks.
Cucumbers and Melons
Cucumbers, watermelons, and honeydew can be started 4-6 weeks before the last spring frost or after the soil has reached about 60℉.
Squashes, like crooked neck or zucchini, have the best chance of germination if they are sowed directly in the soil soon after the last frost.
You should directly sow beans into the garden soil shortly after the last frost.
You can grow everything listed for the spring in the autumn.
Start inside in a cool place 60 days before the first frost date.
Start at least 45 days before the first frost, but 60 days is ideal.
You should start spinach at least 60 days before the first frost date.
Plant cabbage as early as 8 weeks before the first frost date.
Onions are a staple of the fall garden. Plant onion seeds directly in the soil 2-3 weeks before the first frost.
Plant garlic bulbs 3 weeks before the ground freeze in your area.
As you think about planning your garden throughout each season, double-check the dates of frost and freezing, and check for varieties that are well adapted to your hardiness zone.
Ali is a work-at-home mom of 5. She spends her time homeschooling, gardening, and relaxing at the park.