Vegetable Seed Starting Dates
Different vegetables thrive in different weather conditions. Vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, melons, corn, and cucumbers like the warmer weather and will not tolerate frost. If planted before the average frost date for your area, make sure you watch the weather and protect your plants when frost is in the forecast.
Depending on the temperature, a pillow case, or sheet, newspaper, or plastic bag should be adequate protection. For colder, "hard" frosts, plan on using a bucket or similar for
improved protection. In general, it would be wise to wait to plant these more sensitive varieties until the danger of frost is gone. Even though there is no frost, the cooler temperatures will
often stunt growth with some of these sensitive varieties.
There are many vegetables that do well, and actually prefer cooler weather. Beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, onions, peas, and spinach can survive a light frost, and some actually prefer the cooler weather. Many cooler weather vegetables will bolt, or go to flower much quicker in warmer weather, making it more difficult to time your harvest. Check out the chart below to get a good overview of when to plant your vegetable seeds. Look at the "when to plant" section of the Garden Planning page to determine the frost free dates for your area. You can click on each of the individual vegetables for detailed information on that vegetable.
|Vegetable||First Seed starting date(days before last frost)||Last Seed starting date(days before last frost)||Hardiness Scale|
- Winter hardy
- Hardy to frosts and light freezes - plant as soon as the ground can be worked
- Can withstand light frosts, with no damage
- Does not tolerate frost
- Does not tolerate frost, warm nights (night temperature >55F)