Knowing When to Plant Your Garden

Spring is here, and your green thumb is itching to get busy. But planting too early is the most common mistake when starting a vegetable garden for the first time in a new region. Here in the mountains, the warm temperatures can take a little longer to arrive, so to avoid wasted effort and disappointment, it’s best to know when it’s safe to put those seeds and plants in the ground.

Knowing the difference between summer and fall vegetables can help. Fall vegetables like spinach, lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, peas, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and beets can take light frosts as seedlings, and heavy frost as mature plants, but summer vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, squash, melons, and basil die at the slightest touch of frost. They need warm temperatures in the 65-85┬░ F range to germinate and grow.

Ask a local, and they’ll most likely tell you to wait until after Memorial Day to post most crops. There are also some handy online tools you can use to help determine when it’s best for you to plant in your neck of the woods, such as these from The Farmer’s Almanac and A Way to Garden.