When to plant your vegetable plants can be just as important as what you plant and how you care for them. Different vegetables have different ideal planting times, so it’s important to do your research before you head to the garden center or buy vegetable plants online. The old saying goes, “The early bird gets the worm,” and in this case, the early gardener gets the produce.
Many vegetables can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked in early spring, which is typically late March or early April in most parts of the country. This includes vegetables in the cabbage family, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts; root crops, such as beets, carrots, and turnips; and peas and spinach. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are warm-season vegetables that won’t do well if they’re planted too early and subjected to cold temperatures and frost. Wait to plant these vegetables until the weather has warmed up in late spring or early summer. You can anytime purchase the vegetable seedlings online.
Succession planting, or planting a new batch of seeds every few weeks, is a great way to ensure a continuous supply of fresh veggies all season long. This planting method also allows you to stagger the harvest, so you’re not overwhelmed with an abundance of one particular vegetable all at once.
When it comes to planting vegetables, the general rule of thumb is to plant them at the depth they were growing in the container they came in. Be sure to loosen the soil and add some compost or other organic matter to it before planting. After planting, water your seedlings well and keep an eye on the weather forecast. If a frost is expected, take measures to protect your young plants, such as covering them with a frost blanket or tucking them into a cold frame.
With a little planning, you can enjoy fresh, homegrown vegetables from early spring all the way through fall.
How to care for your vegetable plants
Vegetable plants are not difficult to care for as long as you give them the correct amount of water, sunlight, and fertilizer. Here are specific tips on how to care for your vegetable plants:
Vegetable plants need about 1-2 inches of water per week. Water your plants early in the day so the leaves have time to dry before nightfall. This will help prevent fungal diseases. If you live in an area with high humidity, you may need to water your plants more often.
Fertilize your vegetable plants every two weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer. Be sure to follow the directions on the fertilizer package.
Vegetable plants need at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. If you live in a hot climate, you may need to provide shade for your plants during the hottest hours of the day.
Vegetable plants are usually ready to harvest within 60-90 days after planting. Check the packaging of your seedlings for specific information. When in doubt, it is better to err on the side of caution and wait a few extra days before harvesting.