When Is It Time to Plant Your Vegetable Garden?
Ask the Doctor –
Your Source For Lawn Care Tips
Kerry Tai - July 9, 2014

Growing your own vegetables as opposed to buying them from a supermarket will get you more delicious food that may even be better for you. Plus, you are more likely to eat those vegetables if they taste better. After all, carrots and lettuce, to name two examples, taste much better when you grow them yourself as opposed to buying them at the grocery store. So do tomatoes and herbs like mint, chives, oregano, thyme, and marjoram. While they are not technically vegetables, they are something commonly grown in vegetable gardens.

So when should you plant your vegetable garden? Here is what you need to know:

Check out your local hardiness zone

Obviously, there is no one set time or date for every person in the United States to plant their vegetable garden – it is not something like how the day after Thanksgiving is the first big shopping day for Christmas. After all, the climate in Florida will be different from the climate in New York. And even the climate – and growing times -- in a state like California will vary throughout the state.

To help further delineate the difference in climates and growing times, in 1990, the USDA developed a hardiness zone chart for the U.S., with 11 different zones, which are subdivided even further. This will keep you from planting your garden too early – or too late.

The time to start your vegetable gardens also depends on if you’re planting seeds or plants

If you are starting your vegetables from scratch, you will of course need to plant the seeds for the veggies weeks or even months ahead of time than you will with transplant. And whether to grow your vegetable garden with seeds, or plants you either grow inside or buy elsewhere, is up to your individual situation and type of vegetable.

There are cool season vegetables and warm season vegetables to consider

Ever notice at your local farmers’ market how you do not see the same vegetables all year round? That is because it is dependent on what season it is; some items are better grown in cooler times in the year, and others in the hottest times of the year. For example, lettuce and broccoli, to name two cool season vegetables, are best to grow early in the spring, while vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, eggplants, and even beans are warm season vegetables. As for herbs, some grow better in the summer, while others grow better in the spring.

Plant your vegetable garden to have fresh produce from spring to fall

Another thing to consider is to plant vegetables in such a way so that you have crops throughout the year. So you may want to stagger your planting so that you are able to get fresh veggies throughout the seasons.

If you have any further questions on how to plant your vegetable garden, such as how big to plant it and where to plant it, talk with your Lawn Doctor lawn care professional for more guidance. Happy eating!